Life Hits Hard, Lead with Your Left

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box1A badass, I am not. I have never been a fighter and my considerable lack of bad-assness, would render me basically useless in a physical altercation.   Occasionally, I will work over the heavy bag to burn off a few calories and a little steam, but more often than not, the darn bag wins.   As with nearly all things in my life, I have trouble following the rules and boxing is no exception.   The biggest problem I have is with the weak-arm lead. I am DOMINANTLY right handed. My left hand is special and not in a good way. I was a decent basketball player, but I could have been pretty darn good, if I would have had a little more control of my uncooperative left hand, instead I had opponents’ parents yelling “Force her to go left,” from the stands. It is the cross I bear.

The boxing instruction of leading with my quirky left hand and keeping my right arm in the low-ready position seems very awkward to me, so I went seeking the answer to my favorite question in the universe—why? www.expertboxing.com provided me with the answer:

In the traditional stance, a boxer has his weak hand in front as the rangefinder that sets up the strong cross from the rear. In this scenario, the boxer has 2 effective hands: one to open the opponent, the other to inflict massive damage on the opponent. If you place your strong hand in front, this means your back hand will become useless because it doesn’t have true power which is its main purpose.You will be tempted to fight purely on the front hand which diminishes the purpose of the back hand since it is weaker and farther away from the target. It won’t be long before you become a one-armed fighter. (April 30, 2011).

This sums me up perfectly—going at life leading with my strong arm.   It is a pattern. When life gets tough, I start swinging wildly with my strong arm (figuratively speaking, of course) and I usually just end up worn out and defeated. My mouth is my strong arm. It is always cocked and ready. It is that weak side I need to develop. The one I am not used to using as much. It is the arm of patience, kindness, and self-control. My weak arm needs work. It needs a lot of work.

Nothing brings my strong arm front and center quicker than seeing one of my children hurting. Kids fall down and get bumps and bruises and those hurts I can kiss away. It’s the other kind of hurt that draws the one-armed fighting maniac out in me– the heartache, the heartbreak, the emotional growing pains of finding his/her place in this world.  As my kids transition from childhood to young adults, it is often hard to determine when it is appropriate to step into the ring on their behalf and when I should support quietly from my ringside seat.

It was so much easier when they were little, when I was their voice. I was up on the ropes doing a Jimmy Superfly Snuka on whomever or whatever, in order to right the wrongs in their world. The world is a tough place.   Resilience is hard to foster when you have a crazy mom jumping into the ring swinging with her strong arm. On the other hand, it is hard watching your child take it on the chin.

I like to give most people the benefit of the doubt, especially those who actively influence the growth and development of children. With that being said, there are adults who forget the enormity of the responsibility in shaping young lives. More importantly, altogether discounting the significance of ensuring the influence is positive. Just as there is no substance in false praise or unmerited advancement, confidence is emaciated by the unwillingness to look for that which can be cultivated. Often young people are not aware of the capabilities hidden inside them.   There are even times when young people have great things to show the world, but no one is willing to look.

This is the real world. There are things I can change and things I cannot. As a parent, I try to instill simple truths to which my children can cling to: Love God and love others, be kind, work hard, study hard, play hard, laugh often, smile, do your best, forgive, say please and thank you, be honest and humble. I want them to know that they will make mistakes and there will be times they will come out swinging with their strong arm. They will face hardships. There will be defeats, losses, and tears.   Sucker punches from life hit hard and fast and they will be knocked down.   I want them to be able to get off the mat– to get to their knees—to stand—regain their balance—lead with their weak arm and finish with a mighty swing from their strong arm. I want their swings to have purpose.

I am never going to be a boxer.box2

I am going to be a MOM forever.

I will never give up on them.

I will always be in their corner.

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