Press-Republican

Columns

March 1, 2014

When does encouragement become pressure?

As Mom, I struggle with when to push my children and when to stand back. 

Whether urging them to play sports, continue music lessons or try new foods, I rarely find the balance between encouraging and pressuring. When I err, it is usually on the side of too little, missing that mark when a boost becomes the game-changer.

Our youngest is a Rubik’s Cube freak. Recently, he attended a cube tournament, as spectator only. 

Held in a quiet, dimly lit auditorium, cubers were informally clustered throughout the room, absently solving puzzles as they conversed. Official tables with official speed-stack timers and official judges lined the front.

My son and I chose seats in the back. 

URGED FROM OUTSIDE

On a break, a woman with a kind face approached my son, “Are you competing?” 

He shook his head. 

She smiled sweetly, “You don’t want to try?” He shook his head. 

Minutes later, this same woman returned with a young man. She said, “My son was scared at his first tournament, too. I thought you should meet him.” 

Before I knew it, this young man had escorted my son to the officials. I helicoptered in, scanning for his discomfort. He was completely absorbed. He sat down at a speed-stack. 

The young man pointed and talked as my youngest nodded. Finally, with no judge and no audience, my son completed a practice run. His expression was priceless. 

From then on, he alternated between competing and joining groups of cubers to share tips and trade cubes. Amazing.

SWITCHEROO

I wonder what my late-in-life salvation has been like for my family; to have me go from taking the Lord’s name in vain to worshiping it must be quite the switcheroo. 

After my baptism, my husband asked, “So, are you, like, born-again or something?” 

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