Sunday, February 24, 2013

Is Development of Determination Detrimental?

Amanda and I watched Zero Dark Thirty a couple weeks ago (2/15), which was a great movie.  I was struck by one particular characteristic of both the main character and the NAVY SEALs.  All of these people have the type of personalities that completely refuse to quit, who are ruthless in their pursuit of a goal, who absolutely do not allow anything short of death to discourage them or dissuade them from conquering their foes or accomplishing their mission.

I've had moments in my life where I felt some small semblance of this, but the tenacity and ruthless persistence that it takes to be a SEAL is a whole nutha level (or 3).  I can't help but wonder though if people are just born with that quality and/or if it's a result of experiences they encountered in their lives.

Recently, I was watching the preview video for UFC157, which featured Ronda Rousey vs. Liz Carmouche as the main event.  Ronda told a story about breaking her toe in Judo class when she was young.  She walked over to her mom crying about it, but her mom (who was a Judo Olympian) didn't want to hear it, saying "You still have nine more.  Come to me when you break nine and only have one left."  Then she made her run laps around the gym with her broken toe.

I don't know if Ronda would have naturally been a good fighter on her own, but there is no doubt that her mom had a significant impact on her mental and physical development as a fighter.  And while her parenting style may be a bit extreme, it left me to ponder further not only whether determination and perseverance are innate or inspired, but also what effect I could have in the development of my kids' character.

I want to figure out what the best way to pursue this is though - to be a dad who is loving and encouraging, while also doing what I think should be a better job of instilling strength, toughness, courage, and determination in my children.

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