I picked Noah up a couple hours early from school yesterday for an appointment. As he walked into the office where I was waiting, he said, "Have you heard?"
I assumed the worst of course because he has pulled all sorts of shenanigans at school. But this time I hadn't heard a thing.
"Heard that I'm now the school record-holder for holding the plank. I planked for 40 minutes and three seconds today."
I started laughing. "You mean four minutes?"
I spent the next 20 minutes on our drive to the appointment asking about 5000 questions to make sure I was hearing him right. "Are you sure?" "Are you sore?" "Was anyone there to watch this?" "Does you PE teacher know?" "How hard was it?" "What hurt the most?" "Were you sweaty?" "What came over you?" "Why did you do that?" "You sure you didn't take any breaks?" "Was it boring?" And on and on.
He shocks me on the daily. But I'm pretty sure this one takes the cake.
I am in pretty good plank-shape. I take a class each week at the gym and we work on our planks. Plus I do them here and there at home when I feel like it. So I am completely aware of what it takes to hold a long plank. And two-three minutes is very difficult. Try it! You'll agree!
He said that around minute-16 his back was in severe pain and he was dripping with sweat. That's when he started meditating and doing slow and deep breaths.
(And here he's been telling me meditation doesn't help him with anything! Mom is always right!)
His whole class was doing the challenge. The second place person held her plank for 6 minutes, for perspective. It was time for his class to go to lunch, so they all left except for one girl who was asked to time him with a stopwatch and support him through the ordeal. The PE teacher started teaching a second grade class that came into the gym for PE. Eventually some of his friends finished lunch and came back to cheer him on for his final minutes. The second-graders cheered for him too. But the girl sitting with him really encouraged him, he said.
There was another 5th grader in another class who held his plank for 38 minutes a few days ago. All the kids were freaking out over that, and Noah figured he could give him a run for his money, so he told himself he would not drop his knees under any circumstance until he had reached 40 minutes.
That's the kind of kid he has. Noah has many, many challenges and weaknesses. Some things in life do not come easily for him. He either really struggles or is really exceptional. He really isn't average at much. (However, he is average at math and he would admit that it is so nice to be average! When you are average at something you don't have to struggle to do it, but you don't have any internal or external pressure to plank for FORTY minutes either.)
The reason I'm typing this out is because I wanted to post about this accomplishment on facebook. I probably still will. But I know that by doing so, it's bragging and it makes it seem like I'm competitive -- or that he is. Neither one of us is particularly competitive, but I've noticed that other people sure are (especially with him because he has so many talents). And that puts me into a really awkward position. For one thing, I could never have imagined he would do something like that, so it's fun to share. Plus it's awesome! And inspiring! But "bragging" about kids makes other parents feel inadequate and I wish that weren't the case.
Two principles are really true with Noah. "God giveth and God taketh away." And "Where much is given, much is required." God has given Noah so many talents it's just crazy. Before I met him I had no frame of reference for what it meant to be gifted. I came from an average family and I think average is wonderful! We didn't struggle with much and we all did... average. And average has turned out great for me and my siblings. I would imagine most "successful" people are average.
But then Noah was born and I was like, "Holy crap! This kid is not average! What do I do?" Meanwhile, God has also given Noah challenges that many kids don't have. Lots of kids have challenges, so I know he isn't the only one. But he does struggle, unfortunately. But as he struggles through life, he does some really remarkable things. Things I don't really see other kids doing. God giveth and God taketh away. Where much is given, much is required.
So it's a shame that we spend so much comparing. And assuming. We assume that if someone does something awesome, than it came easily for them. Or that everything comes easily for them. I don't think we should do that. We shouldn't feel inadequate when someone's child does something out of the ordinary. We shouldn't feel uncomfortable if someone is the best. We should feel grateful.
I think we should assume that if a child can hold a plank for that long, he has pretty good practice holding planks.