Thursday, May 3, 2012

Peak Training for Myself and Kids

Peak Training for Myself and Kids

First of all, I should probably start off by saying this blog has nothing, or at least very little, to do with my running training.

What it does have to deal with is how I have suddenly seemed to enter an adventure of, as Marie likes to put it, a “second mom”.  That’s definitely not a place I would have saw myself being in a few years ago, but it wouldn’t be an adventure with some twist and turns.  Plus, as always, it is a beautiful journey…but not without its’ own shares of rocky climbs.

I also need to mention that I consider my Little for Big Brothers Big Sisters as one of my additional children.

(My name, Rachel, means motherly by the way.  I always hated it and wanted something cooler.  However, it has always been very fitting as I always encouraged my friends to do the right thing and had them calling me “mom”. )

Lately, Steve and I have been having a bit of an uphill battle with our two boys, Stephen and Joe.  Besides an attitude problem with one and the other going on hunger strikes, we were aghast when we saw their report cards.  While neither Steve or I feel the need to push the kids for straight A’s and much rather have them be well rounded and adjusted, we do focus on being one’s individual best.  On the other hand, a “D-“ shows complete lack of effort.  Scarily, it shows a lack of interest in one’s future.  It means you didn’t even bother to attempt the homework! (Thanks to, we even have proof of this)

We stormed our brains for ideas on how to get through to them.  I was contradicted in how to tell them the importance of getting good grades.  I didn’t want them to hate school, but strive for that A anyway just for the reward, and then continue that mentality, with high school, college, and job. That is not the path to happiness. (I followed this theory up with reading “Happier”, based on a Harvard class that now draws the most students) I wanted learning to be more than a chore, but privilege, adventure, and opportunity to be better…but that is much easier said than done, especially in today’s world.

Then I went back to another idea I had been giving much reading and thought too, for myself and a youth program I’ve been developing.  Steve and decided to present the subject of grades in terms of “goals”.

After many complaints share when Steve asked the boys to do their homework as soon as they came over, we brought up goal-setting.  We not only asked them what they wanted to be, but why (why is the key).  This Joe could understand and gave a wonderfully developed answer, which included his want to help people (more “whys” could still be asked, but that was good at the moment).  Then, we were able to tie this in into a step by step process, with doing well in school be the base.  Stephen on the other hand, was not buying it.  I am hoping something stuck.  At the very least, the boys will always know that we tried to be there for them, and always cared.

Before I get to Jerecia, I have to talk about Marie for a few sentences first.  Marie has been wonderful these past few weeks!  It used to be normal to throw a tantrum when she did not get what she wanted.  Now she barely whines.  Yes, she still ask for ice cream and cookies quite often (which I would have no problem giving on occasion if I knew she didn’t eat junk all the time elsewhere…Despite knowing our efforts to eat healthy with the kids. Steve’s mom will actually sneak sweets over…its one of those situations where I just have throw up my hands and laugh!) and that the answer will usually be “no”, but knows I’m usually more than happy to provide a health alternative for a snack.  Also, after going to Hinkley and the Ledges a few times, she has learned that it’s okay to fall, get scraped and dirty, and then keep going.  She has turned in to quite the little adventurer!

Jerecia, on the other hand, has some bigger problems.  To say the very least, her family situation is far from what I would call stable, and therefore has more than the normal amount of obstacles in her path to a successful future.

I figured is she has a clear path of her destination and her short term goals to get there, she might be able to focus in and overcome some her barriers….it was worth a shot.

When I picked her up last week (after some confusion), we drove to a mile path called “Beaty Landing”.  It starts off going down a big hill…and finishes going back up (great place for mile repeats). At the top of the hill, I told her our final goal would be to get back to the top of the hill.  However, we both knew the path below provided some nice scenery and river perfect for skipping rocks.  I asked if it made sense (as long as you aren’t doing mile repeats) to rush through? She said “No!” and I explained that she was right, because while we had some work to do along the way, we wanted to “enjoy the journey” as well.  We then walked the path below, talked more about her goals, skipped rocks, and finished with a sprint (okay, she sprinted, I just followed behind) up the hill, back to our destination.

It was then time to write our goals down.  This is an important step, as it “solidifies” your goals, and can be hung up as an everyday reminder.

So, we were off to Target for poster board, markers, and of course, stickers.  Jerecia also made sure to pick out the biggest and brightest pink poster board she could find.  As this would make it even more noticeable, I was happy to pay for it.

After buying our supplies we headed next door to Panera for a snack and to go to work on our posters!  It took a little bit of thinking, but it ended up being a fun project.  Jerecia didn’t quite pick up on all the concepts I was trying to get across, like being aware of barriers and creating and action plan, but nevertheless, wrote her goals down in a bulleted format with some answers as to “why”.

Because it’s me, I went into my goal poster with full force.  I had been thinking about it for awhile after all, and wanted to come up with an outline that kids and adults could follow, in an adventure based theme. I came up with “Peak Training” (although if you live in the in the East, you may simply prefer “Hill Training”).  It’s a way to track your goal by “climbing up a mountain”.  The mini summits represent short term goals that will lead to the peak, of ultimate goal.  There is space a long each climb to write the steps or action plan to reach each summit, and dips that represent possible barriers.  I made sure to include my “why” at the top too.  The poster is currently hanging in my basement/workout room.  I am close to reaching my first summit.  (I’ll try to poster a picture or outline of “Peak Training” later)

The second “goal outline” is a path or trail that leads to the ultimate destination, and therefore entitled “destination training”.  I would choose to use that one for really long term goals, like 5-10 years, or life, but it could be used for more short term goals as well.

 Part of my ultimate goal is to use Peak Training in my Youth Life Adventure program. 

Having goals help us stay honest.  It gives us something to focus on.  A plan to make ourselves better.  Yes, the path may deviate from our original maps, but that’s okay.  It is more important that we enjoy the journey, yet stay in view of the destination, so we end up in that area of “why”.  With a map for guidance and believe in ourselves, we can reach any peak…just maybe not the one planned. 

Taking this concept to kids will hopefully empower them to simply reach their own peaks.

Happy Climbing,