T Nation

Parent Appreciation


#1

This has been on my mind last last few days:

I was at the gym last week and I noticed that one of the regulars was training without his usual training partner. About half and hour later I saw his partner arrive and I went over to the guy who was training and said "Hey, your pal's here". He laughed and said "That's not my pal, that's my son." I have watched these guys train together for years and never realized it was father and son. I made a point of telling him later how cool I thought it was that he trained with his son and what a lucky man he is.

I was never so lucky. I had minimal parental interaction in my life. The most physical activity I ever had with one of my parents was picking my drunk mother up off the floor and getting her back upstairs. My dad was always gone. Worked full time and went to school at night so he could keep his job. I never got involved in sports or other extracurricular activities in school because there was no encouragement or direction from home. Plus I was the youngest of four kids and kinda got lost in the shuffle. Now I'm sure if I was really driven as a kid, I could have pushed myself and perhaps excelled in something without them, but that's pretty hard when you're a teenager. And of course my mother always made a scene where ever she went, so I avoided all social events or activities that involved parents. Having friends over was out of the question, which made it tough to have friends. I don't have a single memory of my parents sitting down with me and helping me with my homework or trying to get involved in my life in anyway. They had their own problems and I was basically on my own.

They are both dead now. Never got to know my mother very well, but my father and I were close later in his life.
Now I'm sure that I'm not the only one here who has had a tough childhood, but for those of you who complain about your parents meddling in your life, be thankful they care. Be thankful they are trying to be involved in your life. Try to get to know them, they may be pretty cool folks if you give them a chance. Not all of us can have parents we can train with, but they may be paying for your college or for you to play sports in school because they care about your future.
And for all you parents, don't let your kids be strangers. Be their friends, not just the authoritarian figure in their lives. Had someone been paying attention to what I was doing and providing some kind of guidance I may not have made some of the bad descisions I did. You can learn a lot from each other. Take this opportunity to do so.

'Nuff said


#2

Smart words.


#3

I couldn't have lifted my drunk mother off the floor. Especially when I was drunk too.

I am definitely trying to raise my son a little differently. :wink:

\|/ 3Toes


#4

I too was drop-kicked in the nuts at an early age by life. It was a bum deal, I got dragged through divorce court at the age of 8, my mother tried to get me to lie about stuff so she could keep custody(child support check was all she cared about) and because of that my dad and I kinda grew distant. It's not like we are a big dysfunctional family(well, sort of), there is just a lot of bad blood I guess. The best thing I think I can do is learn as much as I can from the whole thing and never repeat the same mistakes my folks did when I was a weee-lad.


#5

Well, that sucks. Maybe someday you can mend those fences. But then sometimes not. My siblings and I are not close. I've got a brother I haven't seen or talked to in five years (since my dad's funeral). Even after he heard about my husbands cancer, not a word. But I guess I'm as much to blame since I don't pursue him.
My husband had a "normal upbringing" and is very close to his family. I am very fortunate that they have taken me into the fold and treat me as one of them. They are my family now.


#6

I'm glad that you saw one of the best benefits of working out. I have four sons. One is 6'11", 245 lbs., 38 inch vertical, 11'2" long jump, 4.8 forty, 300 lb. bench, 385 parellel squat, 280 hang clean. Another is a 6'3", 215 freshman in high school who plays on the varsity, 225 bench, 205 hang clean, 275 parellel squat, 27.5 in. vertical, 9'6" long jump, 5.0 forty. My little one is a sixth grader. 5'9", 135 lbs. He is learning correct technique in lifting and running. We work out daily when he isn't involved in some type of athletics.

I'm kind of bragging, but the point is, I really couldn't leave it up to a high school coach to do what's best for my sons. In the education that I have attained to help them, I have benefitted immensely. I have my CSCS, and some other certifications, I have corresponded with noted strength coaches. (Al Vermiel, Charles Poliquin, Ian King, and others that I found here on the T-Nation web site, and who were more than willing to help me out by sharing their knowledge.) One of my sons is cognitively impaired. He is also legally blind and deaf. Lifting with him has prepared him to work, and has given him confidence to face the world with confidence, inspite of his struggles. Even he recognizes that in his competitions, he performs better because he is prepared. He will have a surgery for Kyphosis in Jan.

The doctors are amazed at the flexability of his spine, and feel like the surgery won't be as drastic because of lifting. I also want you to know that it is so gratifying to know that I had a great part to play in my sons successes, instead of leaving it up to chance, or up to someone else to take care of. My oldest played Basketball last year for Cornell University. He is now going to spend two years in church service, and then hopefully play somewhere closer to home where I can watch him more often.

My freshman son has already had football and basketball coaches talk to him, and because of their examples, my sixth grade son is already working out so he can do what they are doing. I wouldn't trade one of our 5:00 a.m. sessions in our garage gym for anything in the world. It has allowed me to interact with my sons in a way that nothing else could duplicate.

Every penny spent on good food, correct supplements, and training equipment has paid off in so many ways. They are disciplined, know how to prioritize, and can analyze what is really important, and what is not. They believe in early to bed, early to rise, and so I don't have to worry much about them being in trouble somewhere. Inspite of all that, I am the one who has truly benefitted. I have grown. I have been allowed in my son's lives. We are close and our love and respect for each other is strong. I can't say enough good things about the T-Nation lifestyle.


#7

gojira, that was just an awesome post! With the upbringing you had, it says a lot about your character, tenacity, and determination to become the person you are today. I really respect you and what you've accomplished!


#8

Even with the neglect from your parents, you became a strong women mentally and physically, even if a bit argumentative. Good message.

Thanks


#9

gojira,
I want to thank you for posting your experiences. I want you to know that as I posted my reply to yours, I was counting my blessings. It was at a time when I needed to count them. Thanks to you for motivating me to realize how truly lucky (blessed) I am. You are thoughtful and intelligent. I am glad that you interact with us on the T-Nation site.


#10

Gojira and BigMike, excellent posts. What doesn't kill us, makes us stronger, right? G, I'm glad you have your in-laws - mine are also wonderful and I am very close to them. I try to be a strong and loving mom for my boys and look forward to training with them when they're older.


#11

Excellent post, Gojira. thank you for that picture into the life of a family with strong bonds.


#12

Thanks guys. You know sometimes when I watch parents coaching their kids or hear my coworkers talk about how they're working with their kids to get them onto that team or into band, whatever, I feel a slight twinge of jealousy and wonder what it might have been like...

But it is such a great thing to see. Those kids are so fortunate to have parents that get involved and spend the time with them. I wish I could tell them all how lucky they are. But yeah, they'd just think I was another weird adult trying to bore them with some stupid sentimental crap. Oh well.

I stopped blaming my parents a long time ago. It is better to focus on the road ahead of you rather than dwelling on what you see in the rearview mirror.


#13

Gojira,

Family dynamics are complicated especially when the parents themselves didn't have any good role models growing up too.
My mom shared with me how cruelly my grandmother treated her while growing up and thus, I was raised the same way. Forgiveness is not easy but we've both made leaps and bounds in our relationship. Understanding my mother's pain and struggles helped me to be less angry. Thank you for your story.

Oh Jilly,
I like your new avatar. You look mighty buff to me.


#14

This is an excellent thread - thank you for sharing your experience, Gojira.
It's really remarkable that you've been able to preserve such a strong sense of self, and share your past in a way that still seems greatful and hopeful.

My experience has been.. remarkable. To have 3 very athletic daughters was... new.. to my parents - who are both highly achieved scholars. As immigrants from India 30 years ago, they truly brought the spirit of achievement, ethics and empowerment as their finest Indian imports.

Coming from a place where women were never truly encouraged to excel in sport, they have been incredible, progressive and supportive of our choices to prioritize sports in our lives. We've all been to university (I think I might be here forever), but have been able to thank them for their open-mindedness by demonstrating that the best of what athleticism has to offer is what you carry into every other dimension of life: passion, discipline, courage, disengaged boundaries, leadership and a strong sense of community.

Losing my father to cancer as a teenager, truly instilled a renewed sense of grattitude for his life and the ability to get to know and appreciate my Mom better.

There were times when my Mom questioned how I felt that a muscular physique was feminine, but accepted my reasoning with a very open mind.
I can say without a doubt, that my parents have equipped us with every tool within their grasp, to ensure that we can make our own choices, give back to others, and live meaningfully - so long as we live honestly and purposefully.


#15

I was reluctant to reply to this thread at first because my parents have nothing but gold to me. I didn't want to sound arrogant. I do want to reinforce how much parents can influence their children to accomplish goals that may seem unattainable. If it wasn't for my father, I would have given up on myself a long time ago. He is the one that has always had wise words and experience to back up his thinking. He taught me to be a man and take responsibility for my actions. It is he who showed me the iron game. It is he who pushed me while in college. It was he who gave me comfort while I sat in the hospital nearly dying. My mother has always been there to, but as a backup to my dad. He has given me so much of his time and love that I can never repay or thank him enough. My dad is my hero. As a tribute, I am raising my son in the manner he raised me.