What Our Teenage Daughter Has Taught Us

Our daughter does not give up! She has always been like this. As a baby, she learned to sign before she could talk so she could tell us that she wanted milk, more, cookie and shoes! She was so happy…until you told her no! Bella doesn’t accept no.

As a toddler, if she wanted something, she did everything in her power to get it! At first, she would whine to try to get her way, then cry. As she got older and realized whining and crying doesn’t work, she would try to negotiate for what she wanted. We thought for sure she was destined to be the world’s best lawyer! Whatever path she chooses, we’ve tried to instill in both our kids that you need to work hard for what you want and have patience.

Patience has not always been a strong point of Bella’s but endurance definitely is! As a young child, her strategy was to wear you down if she couldn’t win you over! As she got older, she accepted the rules but pushed the boundaries. And I realized that’s ok…our jobs as parent’s were to guide her and help her become the person she was meant to be…not mold her into who we wanted her to be.

A perfect example of this was Bella wanting to jump! I’m not talking about standing on two feet and jumping into the air…I’m talking about skiing on two skis and jumping over a 4 to 5 foot jump going 26 mph behind a boat! Bella has always had issues with balance. It takes her a lot longer to learn some things, like riding a bike or water skiing, than it does for her peers. For the past 7 years, our kids have been part of the ski club here on our lake and have slowly mastered how to ski. Bella actually started off on someone’s shoulders, doing rope doubles and climbing pyramids. She then learned to kneeboard, ski on two skis, slalom, trick ski and even short stints of barefooting! But last summer, Bella wanted to jump and was determined to do it! The whole rest of the summer we watched her crash every time she attempted it…I’m talking crash over crash…one day, it was SEVEN times in a row! As a mother, it was hard to watch! I wanted to scream “DON’T DO IT! Let’s try something else!” But I knew that is not what she needed to hear, so each time I would give her whatever advise I could, tell her she was close and how proud of her I was. In the mean time her brother mastered the jump on his kneeboard and was a rock star in the show. When the season ended, Bella was disappointed she couldn’t land it.

When this summer started, I wondered what she would do. Had she had moved on? Sure enough, she was determined to land that jump! Once again, she tried jump after jump, crash after crash. Other parents were amazed by her determination and tenacity. So many said they would have given up…but not Bella! Finally, towards the end of the summer she landed it! She conquered her fear and accomplished her goal. She landed her jump and skied away screaming with excitement…it was priceless!

I realized that she is a great example of being determined, working hard for what she wanted and never giving up! Even when failure seemed the only option, she listened to that small voice inside of her, telling her she was greater than her fears and would make it! How awesome is that! I want to be more like that…I want that same tenacity in everything I do!


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