Saturday, October 4, 2014

Muscles

Today I've been thinking about the work that it takes to build muscle.

We talk a lot with our 7-year-old about her self-control muscle. After a recent spell of terrible emotional outbursts and 947 different ways of trying to explain exerting self-control—what it means, why it's important, and how to do it—the analogy of building it as a muscle is the thing that finally clicked. Hard work, but work that pays off, good for body, mind, and soul.

I didn't even realize just how much the analogy was resonating until a day that was particularly challenging—and not because there were any terrible tantrums, but rather because she sat right on the brink of losing it just about all day.  It took everything in our power not to give in to the frustration of dealing with a little being right on the edge. But all day, we kept going back to the analogy of exercising the self-control muscle, and she kept on fighting against the slippery slope of losing it. And though the day was full of whining and several near misses, she never did lose control. We were all tired, and that night, after goodnight kisses and on my way out of her room, a little voice piped up, "Katie? I worked out today."

And that's how I knew that she got it. She really got it. Those little eyes, always watching. Ears, always listening.

Today's been a day that I've avoided this page. All day. So I've been thinking about writing. How it's the same thing: a muscle that I have to build. I didn't want to come to the page today. I'm tired; today was busy, and I thought about giving myself a weekend pass. My writing muscle isn't used to working this many days in a row.

But then I thought about being able to say that I worked out today.

And so here I am.

While short, and by no means a great workout, I did it. I worked out today, too. 

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