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Friday, November 30, 2012

All Fun with Games

My dear Hope is such a deliberate, hard-working girl. I never have to remind her to do her homework; when the table needs to be set before dinner, she stops what she’s doing and does it without being told. If she is doing her laundry, she often empties Hannah’s and Amanda’s hamper to do with her own. I must admit, her folding is much better than my own!

One thing Hope does not do well is play. This was a real struggle when she first came home—it was something more foreign than the language. Over the years Hope has engaged in some methods of play—shooting hoops, jumping rope, going on a bike ride. Almost always she is doing it solo—no game playing or form of competition permitted. For this reason, ALL board and card games are avoided like the plague. There is not convincing her once her mind is made up! Generally when Hope resists, I can tell it is futile to pursue; she has made up her mind and nothing will change her mind. Only her attitude will change—and it will go from bad to worse!

Sometimes, however, if I detect just a glimmer of a sparkle in her eye, I know that she wants to play, but is afraid to try. Afraid to fail. Afraid to look foolish. Afraid to be the only one who doesn’t get it.

This past weekend we had ASTOUNDING victories in the “try something new” and “play” departments!

I asked her to join me and some of her younger siblings in a board game. I think she was really getting bored with her holiday weekend and was open to doing something, anything, to beat the boredom. Hey, whatever it takes, right? Even when one of her older siblings joined she was willing to try, but when this sibling’s sweetheart also joined, Hope was MORE than ready to bail. This couple is rather cut-throat in their game-playing tactics, and Hope was ready to bolt like a rabbit. Thankfully I convinced her to stay and be on Hannah’s “team” since Hannah “ wouldn’t know how to do it by herself”.  All of a sudden, it was appointed work—so with much coaxing (and sitting next to me) she stayed and played.

The next day one of my sons, my husband and I were planning on going into the state forest behind our house to do some target practice. My husband and I recently received our CPL and I really wanted to know how to use what we own properly…and my son just likes to shoot. (Boys! J) Dave invited Hope to join us…again, that glimmer!...and through much coaxing, Hope agreed to at least walk out with us, knowing that she could leave at any time. We were using our garden’s leftover vegetables that had begun to rot as targets—the “carnage” would feed the deer. Can you believe Hope shot a 380, a 9mm, and a shotgun??!? Granted, no vegetables were wounded in her attempts, but she TRIED it and ended up SMILING!!!  

We were on a roll! I decided to push it a bit farther and asked Hope to play a different game with us—one that required a bit more strategy than the first. Since the competitive duo wasn’t at our house, she reluctantly agreed, and she wasn’t even a part of a team. Although she didn’t win, she ended the game smiling. She did it. Or should I say: SHE DID IT!!!

It’s no longer anything big for Hope to run 10 miles on the treadmill or even 5 miles at an incline of 7% and above. That was last summer’s battle, and she conquered it. She not only has her sight set on next year’s cross country team, but she also has started training for the 5/3 Riverbank 25k Run in Grand Rapids in May. Two years ago her battle was navigating High School—in which she just received all A’s again—and maintains her 4.0 GPA. (side note, so does her brother Andrew, an accomplishment which deserves a “Whoot-whoot!” here.)

I can’t help but to wonder what this newly acquired success will bring her way.  To not be afraid to try…or to fail…or to look foolish…to not have as much of the fear of man dictating what she can and can’t do.

I’ll keep you posted!

All my best,

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