My wife and I have two children. My son, the youngest of the two, just finished his junior year of high school. Similar to our daughter, the junior year was by far the most difficult. Last Friday was report card day.
The email came in at the same moment I was sitting down for a mindfulness exercise, just after finishing my workout. Immediately after that, my phone blew up. My wife texted to discuss our response: he fell short of the goal, how would we respond? Emotions were high. Meeting that goal meant earning a baseball trip the upcoming weekend. My wife reported he was a bit angry about missing the goal. She felt I needed to get home soon so that together we could help him move forward. I skipped the mindfulness exercise, headed for the shower, then drove home.
Agile Best Self Principle #6: The most effective way to be your best self is to be mindful and intentional.
In spite of missing the goal narrowly, there was a lot to be happy about. He had a major improvement in the class he struggled with most in the previous trimester. I knew he had worked hard to earn that improvement; I intentionally chose to emphasize the hard work and improvement as we went to lunch together. He needed me to be his dad that day – nothing more, nothing less. That was my second mindful, intentional choice: my Best Self for this day was to be dad.
The next morning I realized I had missed my daily mindfulness session. A streak of nearly 180 days broken. Ughhhhhhh! My first instinct was to get a little upset with myself. However, those 180 days of mindfulness helped me approach the situation with curiosity. It helped me see that what I was doing was intentionally prioritizing my son’s needs over my own. I flipped the switch from disappointment to self-kindness, and further into cultivating feelings of optimism over starting a new streak.
It’s like when we get distracted during a meditation or mindfulness training session. Have some compassion. Just start again.
Copyright © 2018 – 2023 Michaele Gardner and Brian Hackerson
2 thoughts on “Just Start Again”
I am curious? Did your son get to go on the baseball trip despite not hitting the goal?
We had a very similar experience last year with our youngest son and we did give him the reward that was offered even though he missed the goal. He had worked so hard and improved his study habits and getting work in on time that we just did not have the heart to deprive him of the reward which was a trip to AZ with dad that was so valuable for the 1:1 time spent together. Great story and I’m glad you reminded yourself that missing your mindfulness streak was okay.
Thanks for sharing,
We did not end up going on the trip. My wife and I considered it, but in this situation we wanted to see how he reacted. I was happy that he responded with a healthy expression of anger, which showed that he cared deeply about the result (we weren’t sure how he would respond). Something to build from for next year.