Saturday, February 15, 2014

Why I Feel I Can do Anything

my dad, mom, me, my hubby, and my sis
I think I am a little ambitious.  I like to finish projects.  I like to create new things that are important and meaningful.  I like to take the lead at work.  I like to work toward goals and accomplish them.  I like to take on the challenge that's making everyone else throw up their hands and want to throw in the towel.  I like to solve puzzles and to figure out tough situations.

I think I'm pretty productive.  I can research, write, create, edit, and finish a project in a whirlwind of speed.  And I think the quality is pretty darn good.  

I don't know for sure what made me this way, up for tackling challenges, up for taking on more projects than I probably sometimes should.  

But I think it might be related to these facts:
  • I watched my dad design and build a house on his own (with a little help from his friends!) when I was growing up.  He did this on weekends and after work, while working full time hanging sheetrock-- a very physical and demanding job--and often working side-jobs, as well.  
  • I watched my mom work full time, long hours loading UPS trucks and delivering next day air packages, and then come home and care for us every day, and also care for her aging parents in their own home, and also cook spectacular meals and keep our house lovely and humming, and also have deep conversations with us regularly, and know our friends, and attend our endless plays and dance recitals and awards banquets.  
  • I watched my sister win "Student of the Year" for her whole entire school when she was a senior.  As in, she was the best student in the whole entire school from 9th through 12th grade.  She studied all the time and was in every extracurricular activity there was and worked part time and sang in the church choir and did community theater and taught dance to little kiddos and babysat, and still made time to let me play with her hair.  
  •  I watched my husband work FULL time through college.  He paid for his own undergraduate degree completely on his own.  And during that tim, he also played in a band, and went to church, and made time for me and his friends, and fixed every family member's computer in the tri-state area when they needed it, and went on to get a freakin' Ph.D., y'all.    
I remember one time when I was in grad school, my clinic supervisor pulled me aside and told me that she thought I might be working too much and that maybe it was taking me away from my studies too much.  At the time, I was a research assistant part-time, and I babysat some children after school several days each week, and I worked weekends as a receptionist in the Xray department at the local hospital.  I asked the clinic supervisor if she knew that I had a 4.0 GPA?  What more did she want?  She laughed and said, no, she didn't know that, and she guessed I should probably just keep on doing what I was doing.  (And also, I wanted to ask her if she wanted to pay my bills so I could spend more time on my studies, hah!) 

The thing is, that making my own way, even if it took working 3 jobs while going to grad school full time, was just what I had to do to get to my dream of being a speech therapist.  And so, like my mom and my dad and my sister and my husband before me, I did just that.  If I hadn't had good strong models of how to work hard for what you want and actually achieve it, I might have given up when that clinic director pointed out my frenzied pace.  I might have felt defeated or even embarrassed because no one else in my program seemed to have to work so much all the time.  But, heck, I knew I could do it.  I mean, no one I ever knew had failed.  I had good early models of persistence paying off.  

So, to all of you hard-working parents who might feel guilty that you're not home full time or volunteering every week at your child's school or baking cookies from scratch to serve to the neighborhood kids when they come over, I say:  

Work late now and then.  Bring work home.  Talk about neat projects you're working on.  Show your kids that you contribute to the world and that you're actually kind of amazing at what you do.  Let them see you stay up late to meet a deadline.  Let them see you get up early to squeeze in the cooking of pink pancakes for Valentine's day, and then rush off to a meeting looking professional and powerful.   Let them see you groan at the alarm clock but get up anyway and head off to meet the demands of the day.  The more we model for children what it looks like to set and meet goals in all areas of our lives, the more they believe that they can do the same.  

I know this firsthand.  Because my dad, and mom, and sister, and husband, modeled this for me.  

And that is why I feel I can do anything.  

Who in your life has modeled working hard toward success? 


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  2. Made me teary! Beautifully written! I have often thought about my work ethic and that of both of my brothers. We are products of a loving family that supported and loved us into to doing and being anything we could dream or imagine. My parents modeled in their everyday lives how to work hard to make a difference in the big things and little things, to always do our best and to never stop working to achieve our goals. I never thought I could not do something and always knew that my family would have supported and believed in me, no matter what. We are certainly blessed!