Small Success: Lessons from the Cross-Country Team

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My daughter started cross-country this summer. She loves the team because the reinforcement is always positive. “Persist.” “Don’t compare yourself to anyone else but yourself. You’re the only one you’re trying to improve.” “One step at a time, one after another.” The goal is always to improve, to beat your last time, to use every run, every practice as preparation for the next.

The attitude of the team is, they’re all getting better, and everyone (with the exception of her older brother) knows running long distance is hard, and always started out hard even if it got easier. Every runner remembers finding it hard, so they admire anyone who tries. Every runner knows that slowest runner was them, is them, and if they don’t keep at it, will be them again.

I love the team for the message it repeats over and over again. “Try today. Try tomorrow. Keep trying.” I love the team for making her feel such a part of it, regardless of where she finishes. Her progress helps my progress, because she repeats the words to me and talks about the team attitude. It’s contagious, and it helps me to persist, and her younger sister who is also taking notice.

In the physical, business, social and spiritual world, we need the comfort and support of others who keep us both focused on the goal, and cheer us on as we try, or even cheer us into trying.

So today’s Small Success Thursday is about two things: when were you encouraged by someone else, and did you tell them thank you? And when did you encourage someone else?

For me, we went to the park and I wound up encouraging two women who were afraid of their own hearts longing for “just one more.” It wasn’t because I’d planned to do anything other than take my kiddos to the park. Their faces lit up at the prospect of not being afraid.

Likewise, my daughter’s persistence pushed me. I’d missed a day of exercise, then had a good day, and then missed again. She got me going to start again. She’s been reading these things, because she said to me, “Remember, Mom, progress, not perfection.”

I said, “Yeah, but I went backwards this weekend.”

And she said, “Begin again.” And when I started to argue she shushed me. “Quit griping. It’s wasting mental energy. Get going.” I started to protest. “I’ll go with you.”

“But you just finished.”

“Yes. I want to see you just finish too.”

Maybe she should be writing these things. Happy Small Success Thursday.

What small successes are you celebrating this week?


Copyright 2018 Sherry Antonetti

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About Author

Sherry Antonetti is a mother of ten children, published author of The Book of Helen and a freelance writer of humor and family life columns. You can read additional pieces from her blog, http://sherryantonettiwrites.blogspot.com.

2 Comments

  1. I loved your reflection because almost 2 decades after my last high school cross country season, what I learned from participating still impacts me today. It correlated with helping me persevere while walking along part of El Camino de Santiago with the Spanish club in college and then both of those experiences pointed toward embracing the labor process. Over time it then permeated into approach to life in general. I am glad to hear that your daughter is having a great experience and that it is impacting the way she supports others as well.

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