Three years ago, my youngest son came home from school waving a paper. It was a copy of an article about Olympic swimmer Jason Lezak, bearing his signature. Apparently, Jason Lezak had attended the same elementary school as my kids, and he had been invited to speak about his experiences growing up in Irvine, CA and his triumphs in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece.
He was gracious and thankful for all the opportunities that had come his way. He spoke about the values he had learned at El Camino Real Elementary School and how far they had taken him. The seven values taught at the school included: compassion, cooperation, initiative, integrity, perseverance, positive mental attitude and respect.
I'm sure those values have come into play many times during Jason's life, but none more than the perseverance and positive mental attitude he has needed to achieve his goals as an Olympic swimmer. Last week, Jason displayed both these traits as he swam faster than ever before to help the U. S. men earn the gold medal in the 4x100 freestyle relay in Beijing.
As he dove into the water, almost a full body length behind French swimmer Alain Bernard, he could have given up. He could have focused on holding on for the silver. Instead, he persevered; he believed he could beat his opponent and win the gold for his team. In fact, he swam the fastest anchor leg ever at 46.06 seconds.
We're all familiar with the old saying that “nice guys finish last. " I don't believe that for a minute, and Jason Lezak is living proof that, quite often, nice guys finish first.
Have you ever felt overwhelmed by parenthood? Do you question your actions and decisions? Do you wonder what to do with your tweens, teens and young adult children? Then visit Stress-FreeParent. blogspot.com and see what strategies other parents have used to keep parenting the satisfying and rewarding occupation it was meant to be. Theresa Schultz is a freelance writer and mother of three. She can be reached at Theresa_Schultz@hotmail.com