Thursday, September 13, 2012

Greatness

I have a lot of proud mom moments. That is partly because of the fact that I have 12 kids, and partly because of the fact that they happen to be the 12 best kids ever, in my very unbiased opinion. :)

On Tuesday afternoon I had really incredible proud mom moments.

Tuesday afternoon was the local junior high cross country meet. Two of my sons, Shane and Ben (12 and 11 years old), are in seventh grade and run on the cross country team. Ben's true love is soccer, but he is a great runner and is having a lot of fun in cross country and doing very well. Shane has a God-given talent when it comes to running. He ran a half-marathon in 1:33 this summer. He set the school mile record in sixth grade at 5:25. He got to go to practice and camp this summer with the high school cross country team and was still one of the best runners even though he was only going in to seventh grade. He is a natural, and watching him run is a blast.

Shane took off at the beginning of the race and that was the only time anyone was close to him. He led from start to finish, and finished well ahead of any competitors. He ran the 1.5 mile cross country course in 8:23, which is a 5:35 average pace. It was awesome to hear the high school team and other parents cheering for him and talking about him. (And I laughed when one mom said to me, "I think there is something genetic going on here!") :) I cheered loud, and I was proud.

But it was what happened after that that made me even more proud.

After Shane accepted congrats, cheered in friends, etc. he came over to talk to me. Most of the kids had finished the race and we were waiting for the awards. And then we saw J. slowly moving along the course, with a good half mile or so to go. J. is a big kid. He is tall and he is overweight, and certainly is not built like the "typical" junior high cross country runner. His parents wanted him to do a sport. He tried football and did not enjoy it, and cross country is the other option.

We clapped and cheered for J. as he want by and I got teary-eyed seeing how hard it was for him to run, and yet how determined he was. He was dead last by quite a bit. Most of the other kids were done. Not many people were still paying attention. It would have been easy to quit or walk. But he kept running.

I was going to say something to Shane about how awesome it was that J. was doing cross country and how brave I thought he was, but before I could say anything my Shane looked at me and said, "Mom... I am just SO proud of J. At the beginning of the season he could not even run a lap around the track without walking and now look at how great he is doing!" Shane didn't see an overweight kid or a slow kid. He saw someone that was making progress - someone that was doing great.

And then Shane took off, and ran with his friend, encouraged him, and kept him company. When they got close to the finish line Shane stopped so J. could finish on his own, which he did to much applause and cheering from friends, parents, and teammates. It was awesome.

I told Shane that as proud as I was to watch him run super fast and win a race by a huge margin, that I was MUCH more proud of the way he treated his friend and teammate, and the love, kindness, and sportsmanship he showed that afternoon.

I want to tell J. not to give up, not to get frustrated, and not to be discouraged. He may be finishing last, but HE IS FINISHING. I want to tell him that even though it is really, really hard, that it is worth it.  I want to tell him that just over three years ago I was the overweight mom who couldn't run more than a slow mile at a time, and now I am chasing the dream of qualifying for the Olympic Marathon Trials. I want to tell him that running has not only changed my physical body, but has given me inner strength, confidence, satisfaction, and joy. I want to tell him to keep at it.

I want to tell him he is great.

Have you seen this commercial? I am not usually a big Nike fan, but this commercial gets me every single time.

And here is the video clip of Shane finishing the race. I won't share the video clip of him with J. because J. is not my child, but I promise that clip is much more impressive than this one.


Do what is hard. Step outside your comfort zone. Push yourself. Use your talents. Encourage others. Lift up, support, and encourage your peers.

Be great.

See the greatness in others.

24 comments:

robinbb said...

This post gave me goosebumps. I love when our kids do something that is so mature and amazing. Thanks for sharing. Congrats to Shane!!!!

Jen@runfortheboys said...

Tears. So happy for Shane and so proud of his encouraging spirit. You and Josh are doing something right :-) LOVE THIS!

Abbey{RUNS} said...

I'm curious about how you might react to this situation had it happened 3 or 4 years ago... I mean I know you'd be proud, but isnt it great knowing that there really might be something genetic going on? Isn't is great knowing that you could keep up with him? Isn't it great knowing you've helped people finish too? :)

jayloh@runningmovesme.com said...

I was so struck by that commercial the 1st time I saw it. Really hit a good nerve. :)
Thank you for sharing those amazing moments. As a mom AND a runner, you have much to be proud of, indeed.

Shana said...

GREAT POST. blurry eyes.

BabyWeightMyFatAss said...

Great kid! Great parents!!

Adrienne said...

Wow, I am so impressed with your son! Amazing.

Emz said...

So. Awesome.

Carrie said...

Just incredible, Erin! Tears in my eyes.

bethp262 said...

That brought tears to my eyes!

Also, sounds like you have a great training partner/pacer in the making! :)

Jill said...

Yep, you made me cry. My biggest hope is that I can raise children who are kind, caring, and NICE people. Good job to Shane!

Christy @ My Dirt Road Anthem: A Runner's Blog said...

I love that commercial, I also loved explaining to my son that it was so much more than a big boy running slow after my son started to make fun of him. Now when he sees it he remarks how hard the kid is trying to work towards greatness for himself.

Great job to your son running!

Unknown said...

Awesomeness!!!!!

Canuck Mom said...

Amazing. Got me teary-eyed.

Anonymous said...

That is the post ever! Carol-wv

Terzah said...

Great post, Erin! I'm VERY impressed by J. and by Shane, too. I just read an article about how grit and determination take kids further than talent. Kindness will too, and your son has that.

Gracie said...

You're raising some great kids!

Suz and Allan said...

You guys have taught him well!

Janaenay said...

Wow, what a moving, heartwarming post! You are definitely a proud mom. :)

Janaenay said...

Wow, what a moving, heartwarming post! You are definitely a proud mom. :)

Raina said...

I sure hope to see that kind of attitude in my own kids. Your son must be learning from some terrific examples! This is the lesson I want my kids to "get" too. What matters most is the difference we make in other's lives.

Laura @ Mommy run fast said...

What a beautiful post! Shane sounds like such a mature and thoughtful kid. Congrats to him on the running success, and for being so aware and compassionate toward others!

lindsay said...

Tearing up over here! Way to go Shane! I just knew he was going to do something awesome for his teammate as I read :) (and his speed isn't too shabby either!)

I like that commercial. I know it cause some controversy when it came out but I choose to see the "motivated kid" aspect of it and not think that Nike was trying to exploit or make fun of him. Hopefully he is still motivated by his fame!

lovetoread600 said...

What a wonderful child you are bringing up in this world! It takes a special kid to recognize and acknowledge the hard work in others.

A few years ago I was driving my daughter to her first triathlon and she asked me "Mom, what if I come in last?". I told her that she could never be 'last'. 'Last' were the kids that didn't even come to the race and try. Just training and showing up assured that she could never be 'last'. J. was not 'last'. He showed up! He tried! That takes courage and determination and confidence. None of those traits sound like 'last' to me.