Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Boomerang Effect

You are a role model, whether you believe it or not.  We all are, parents, friends, teachers, coaches, co-workers, you are being watched not only by others, but also by yourself.

I'd like to think of myself sometimes as my own role model.  Lately I've been thinking of my actions like a boomerang- what I do will come back to affect me later on, or someone close to me, like my kids for example.

When I do something, I try to consider how would this go over if I were on the outside listening in right now or how will I feel if this happens to me later.  

Example:  I have said the "F" word in front of my kids and I'm not going to lie, more than once.  Sometimes I let my anger get the best of me and it just comes out.  Over the past few years, I've really taken notice when I say it and have been working hard to replace it with other things such as fudge ripple- it is a long process to cleanse my vocabulary of it, but I am trying.  I try to take notice when other people say it in public and let me tell you, it sounds down right rude and distasteful- which is helping me to want to stop using it even more.  Well, last week, I was at my son's football game (the team is 6-9 year olds), it was a big game and they lost at the last second, but it was a great game.  This one dad was so upset that the team lost, he started shouting and swearing and the "f bomb" came out like SIX TIMES in one sentence.  It was terrible- why should he care so much that they lost- the kids could have cared less- and here is this dad swearing profusely as if he lost a million dollars.

If he had been witnessing this in someone else, I wonder if it would make him think differently before using that kind of language in public again at a child's game.  Even worse, will his child get used to these outbursts and think it's acceptable and start doing that himself.
I break rules and laws every now and again- speeding is the biggest one and the occasional text while driving.  My kids are always asking me if I want to get a ticket, even when I'm going 3 mph over the limit. I usually get annoyed when they do this (don't they realize it's their practice we are late for?)- but one day it dawned on me, if it is acceptable for me to break the law, even a tiny bit, it's going to come back at me when they start driving- they too will think it's ok to go a little faster because mom does it.  I've been trying to adopt a new approach while driving- I'm not late until I'm actually late. Meaning, if the field trip is at 9:30, and it takes 45 min to get there, and I leave at 9- I'm not going to worry- fact is I left late.  At 9:30, I say to myself, OK, I'm late, but I'm almost there- it has been helpful to keep me more calm and drive slower.

The biggest boomerang effect I've noticed that I don't want to happen is technology use.  I'll use the cell phone as an example because it's my biggest distraction.  Using the cell phone whenever you have a free second is teaching your child or whoever is watching you that that is acceptable and in fact, the only way to spend your free time.  My oldest has been asking me for a phone or an iTouch relentlessly- I realized if he sees me and his dad and everyone else in the world on their devices all the time, it only makes sense that he would want one too (think in the past when ads made you think you'd be cool if you were smoking a cigarette).  Now, I've been trying to keep my phone away while my kids are home from school, and resist the urge to check a text while driving.  If one of my readers are in the car, I'll have them check my phone.  Once your kids see you texting while driving, they will think it's ok for them too- teenage drivers are scary enough, can you imagine them texting while driving too?

Attitude is a huge boomerang as well.  I have five kids, so I get frustrated easily.  There are times when I will just lose my mind.  I saw my oldest son flip out on my daughter one day- exactly how I had gotten upset at him- I didn't like that boomerang that came back at me.  I am trying very hard to be more calm and focused in these stressful situations- how I handle them is how I'm teaching them to handle them.  Treat your kids how you want to see them treating their kids.

I work as a coach.  I have to have my head in the game at all times.  I need to not only represent, but embody what I tell people.  It's easy to give out advice, but it's another to live it through.  I tell people all the time to fight through, be tough, dig deep, stay positive- as a result I noticed I will almost never let a negative thought or comment leave my mouth during a workout or about a workout.  I use good mechanics all the time, which means sometimes I'm using less weight, or moving slower- crossfit is scalable and I'm not afraid to admit that sometimes you need to scale back to move up.  Last week, my friend was over, her daughter picked up my kids' plastic barbell, pushed it overhead and dropped it on the ground- my friend panicked and told her not to drop the toy- her daughter looked at her matter of factly and said "mom, that's what YOU do at crossfit, you drop the bar".  If that's not a boomerang...

Do you ever look back at something you've done and beat yourself up about it- like you got hit with a boomerang- "I wish I did this, I should have done this.."  well, truth is you didn't, all you can do is learn from it and move forward.  Being a role model is hard and we are all far from perfect.  Each time you get hit with a boomerang or you feel one coming, learn from the sting.  Remember even when you think no one is watching or listening, someone is, even if it's you.

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