I thought I was persistent, and then I had my youngest child Alonzo. Ever since he was a baby he was the most relentless and stubborn person I have ever met in my life. We claim that he finally slept through the night when he was four, but he is eight and still there are nights were we get woken up by a scream in the darkness from him, requiring to be covered, water or some other thing. I still remember just yielding to him, after years of battling, and letting him sleep wherever he wanted. Many mornings we found him literally hanging upside down from my recliner fast asleep. He didn’t want to sleep in his bed, but he didn’t want to sleep with anyone else either. If he is like that just to sleep, you can imagine how he is when he is awake and full energy.
I know I have talked about his insatiable drive but I do often forget to mention how sweet he is and how noble his intentions are, even when he is in unstoppable mode. He is always ready before I am, he is always worrying about what time it is so we are not late and the poor kid having a Puerto Rican dad, sometimes it is only his persistence that keeps us from being late. There is also this sweetness and innocence in his eyes, even as he asks me the same question for the 13th time. There is a jubilant excitement that emanates from him as he looks forward to taking new challenges. So my challenge with him is: How do I make sure he remains this ball of unstoppable energy yet also learns how to control himself? You know the, a time and a place for everything old adage.
I have talked about me telling him to “take a break” or telling him “tranquilo” (means be calm), but when someone is as persistent as he is, it is only a matter of time before he is at it again. As so much as I have to control the beast, I also have the let the beast BE. Let him be his unstoppable self, let him be unrelenting, find outlets for him to just be himself 100%, without anyone telling him to filter himself, and actually getting praised for his persistence.
While being only 8, he has asked and has played basketball, baseball, wrestling, tackle football, soccer, and swimming. We always figure out a way for him to be able to try them and participate. Sports is not just fun for him, sports is an outlet where Alonzo can be Alonzo, unfiltered and in his totality. You see it in his eyes when he plays he is focused, his unrelenting drive and unyielding persistence shine. He is happy because he can be himself.
For him is sports, but other kids it might be something different. It is our job as parents to find whatever that outlet or medium which allows our kids to be their true self. There is nothing more beautiful and satisfying that being able to be your complete self and being loved and praised for it. I want my little bundle of energy to feel that as much as possible.
I have a persistent and unstoppable force of nature on my hands. It is not my job to stop that force, but to help him find the right direction and avenue to let his unstoppable self, just shine.