Sunday, March 1, 2015

Previous uncertainties

This post was inspired by another Slicer, Tara Reed, in her post "Nerves and Reflection."

On Tara Reed's blog, she wrote about the uncertainty of taking part in the Slice of Life challenge.  She explained that she felt bombarded with doubt about blogging as it is a new endeavor for her.  As I read her post, I thought about the doubt and uncertainty I am feeling about my newest challenge...motherhood.  There have been numerous occasions when I have felt the discomfort of the unknown, and motherhood may perhaps be my biggest challenge I have encountered. To remind myself that I should take on challenges instead of avoid them, below I recall a moment when my confidence faltered.

Though I'm sure there are many other moments previous to this, one experience that stands out in my mind as a time when I was challenged was when I was a cheerleader in high school.  Cheerleading, at that time, was beginning to revolve around tumbling, but it wasn't quite as imperative to have gymnastic ability as it is now. My cheerleading coach wanted me to be able to do a back handspring without a spot, and, to be honest, I was perfectly capable of doing the back handspring.  However, my mind was full of doubt and uncertainty.  Even though I was strong and healthy and able to do the back handspring with her standing beside me while her hand was merely touching my back, I could not convince myself to do the skill alone.  I can vividly recall standing on the mat with my coach standing near saying that no one could leave practice until I did five back handsprings by myself.  I don't recall the outcome of that threat, but I'm pretty sure I could have stood there all night.

I never did do the back handspring by myself; I was too riddled with self-doubt.  I couldn't conquer my fear.  Because of this, I didn't make the "best" cheerleading squad the next year, but instead I had to settle for second-best, cheering for our 0-6 football team. My experience was still fun, but it was nothing compared to cheering for the fast-paced (winning) basketball team. Even now, I occasionally have dreams about back handsprings, making the cheerleading squad, or not, and the feelings that I felt as a sophomore in high school.

What did I learn from my experience? My mind is a powerful motivator.  If I want to do something, I have to convince myself that it is worthwhile. The advantages of doing the back handspring were not enough to persuade me to flip backward.

Fortunately, my challenges after high school were far less physically dangerous. As a teacher, I take on challenges all the time. I pursue innovative activities so that my students will enjoy and learn in my classroom. I'm aware that my lessons may fail, but trying new strategies in the classroom is the only way to improve.

With this realization, my fears about motherhood should be squelched.  Being a mom is completely new to me.  I'm uncertain about nearly everything that revolves around my child. But, if I apply what I've learned in the past, taking on such a large challenge can only bring improvements to my life.

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