Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

A Strong Character Right From The Start

Whether a child is of biological origin, or adopted, character is something that is taught by the parent(s).  Right from the beginning, almost daily, I taught my daughters the values that I believed should be important to them.  And I did this by example, because those same values apply to me.  I want them to respect me biblically as per the ten commandments.  I want their unconditional love.  But I also want them to be honest, loyal, trusting.  I have told them that most of the qualities I have taught them will be an important part of who they are.

Another quality that I want my daughters to have, is empathy and concern for others.

My daughters definitely understand to have empathy for people when they are sick or injured.  They have witnessed personally some very extreme situations just with my health alone.

But it was during a scholastic athletic event a couple of years ago, that I saw an example from my oldest daughter, the quality of concern for someone else.

I have taught both daughters, that if they start something, they need to finish it.  Whether it be a project, a recreational sport, or anything extracurricular, they are to make and keep the commitment.  When applicable, if competition is expected, they are to give their best.  Their lives will not be judged on how many medals they possess, but how, they got them if they did.  They are to have fun what they do, and give their best effort.  But very importantly, never at the expense of someone else.

My oldest daughter was competing in a “triathalon” for her elementary school.  She had trained very hard running at the local track down the road from our house.  Every Saturday morning she had an opportunity to use the high school swimming pool to train.  And she already had enough experience riding her bicycle.  This was her second year competing and had done well her first time out not knowing what to expect.

She had slashed her way through the water, and had been about 2/3 of the way through the bicycle portion of the race, when another competitor wiped out.  My oldest had avoided most of the contact, but still had the collision.  My daughter got up, dusted herself off, and then directed her attention to the girl on the ground.  She was hurt.  There was never a doubt what my daughter was going to do.

My daughter stayed with the injured girl, while many of the adults around me noticed the accident and my daughter’s actions.  My daughter would remain there until official and medical personnel arrived at the crash site.  And even then, my daughter wanted to remain to make sure the girl was okay.  The adults on the scene, encouraged my daughter to continue on with the race, and she did.  My daughter finished the bicycle portion and then completed the run.  It never mattered to my daughter what place she finished, nor her time.

I could not have been more proud.

Now, as an older student, she finds herself at a slightly more competitive level as she is participating in her first official athletic season of girls track.  She is competing in two events, the shotput and 75 meter dash.  I have no doubt she will excel in both events.  She does not lack confidence.  And she does enjoy competing.  But it was during the dash, that something occurred, that once again would show her character.

As anyone who has done track before, the first few times launching off from the starting blocks can be quite awkward.  And though I know my daughter is quite fast, and she would probably rather start from a standing position, it was the starting block that got her start of the dash off to a rough start.  But it was her recovery, her refusal to give up, just as strong as her will to compete, that allowed her to finish the race, just a couple of lengths behind the pack of runners.  She could have just given up like a baseball batter grounding a ball down the baseline, but she did not quit.  She ran with everything she had.

I cannot wait to hear how she does the next time around.

Yes, I am very proud of the daughters that I have raised.  There is a lot more to go, but so far, they understand their character is going to define who they are, and how others see them.

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