Monday, March 8, 2010

If my mom can do it, so can we.

Today was a very special day. For the first time in my entire life, I saw my mom swim. My mom is one spunky, brave, strong, fireball. But all her life she's carried an extreme fear of the water. Even putting her face directly into the shower was uncomfortable. For her birthday, my sister and I bought her swimming lessons. Here's what I learned from this experience:

1. Never give up on anyone or let them give up on themselves. It's just a matter of finding the right "in." My mom needed the assurance of a professional teacher, one-on-one. In positive psychology we know that not everything works for everybody - experiment until you find a strategy that works. Change is as much an art as it is a science.

2. Even those we look up to most still need us to say "great job!" My mom couldn't wait to show me how she swam today. It reminded me of when I was little and asked her to "watch me, watch me." My mom's desire to have me there as she swam exposed something beautifully tender to me. My giddy applause and "wow, I'm so impressed, mom, you're doing great," in the middle of Bally's Fitness Club pool was so important to her. While we all "know" how important praise is, sometimes, we, or at least, I, underestimate it, especially when it's going to "up" to someone I admire. I learned that everyone, no matter how amazing they already are, needs to be seen. We all have a duty to one another to rejoice and acknowledge each other's greatness.

3. Giving meaningful gifts feels SO good. I couldn't wait to give my mom this gift. I think this is the best gift I've ever given. Watching my mom in the Bally's gym pool doing something she never thought possible made me want to cry. This was so much better than jewelry and flowers. Studies show that giving can produce a physical high with similar benefits to a runner's high. You literally FEEL good.

4. "Anything is possible if you let it," Mary Poppins. By mastering this feat my mom is excited to see what else she can take on. It's truly contagious. Now no one in my family has an excuse that they "can't" do something.

5. It's never too late for anything! My mom (and my dad) learned how to ski at age 49 and to swim at age 52. And she's still adding to her list. I admire her courage and the fact that she's open for growth and trying new things. This makes me feel so excited about what new things I can learn and conquer with each year.

Thank you, mom. You've inspired me and I love you! Happy Woman's Day!

Much love to you all,

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