I brought my 9 yr old son, Jake to work with me. After everyone left, I was working out and he was on the couch. Next thing I knew, he had gotten some small dumbbells out of the locker and he was doing some shoulder presses behind me. After I corrected his form, I said, "You wanna do a couple of workouts while I finish?" He said "Sure." The 1st thing I was having him do, was a combo of 12 inch box jumps paired with ring rows. He jumped up on the box once...then twice...then the 3rd time he looked a lil iffy. I see it all the time, people get to feeling confident or get tired and they lose focus, get sloppy and that's when falls occur. As he was doing his 4th jump, I said, "When you get to the top, stop because I want to tell you something about staying focused." As I said this, he jumped, caught the box with a toe, hit his knee on the edge of the box, and landed on the lifting platform. You'd think it would've scared me. It didn't. This is normal. People fall or bleed in our gym. It happens.
My biggest concern was not whether or not he was hurt. I knew he'd be fine. I wanted to use this as a teaching experience. He was breathing deep, trying to hold back the tears, shoulders hanging down, frowning and looking at me with big brown eyes that look just like mine. I sat him down and talked about how important it is to stay focused, and I told him that he should get right back to jumping.
"Don't be afraid of the box son. This happens in here all the time. The important part is that you don't become afraid of the box or feel like a failure. One day, you might fall again, and that's okay too. You get up and you jump again and again."He nodded and smiled at me with glassy eyes, full of tears that he never let fall. We cleaned up his bloody knee and he finished the first of 3 short workouts.
I thought about my very own words as we drove home. That's when it hit me. Life really is like box jumps. Sometimes we are scared to jump. We doubt our ability to get that high, but when we do...it's so rewarding and builds our confidence. Sometimes we get cocky and unfocused. We jump without thinking or looking. We think that we are too good to fall. We might make it just fine a few times, but eventually, we catch our toe and take a tumble. It's humbling and even embarrassing sometimes, and this is where life weeds people out...where greatness is born or dies. Some of us may make mistakes or get knocked down and choose to give up or blame other people. Maybe those get up, but the never try to jump that high again and sentence themselves to a life full of "what ifs" and "coulda beens". But there's also those of us that get up, acknowledge the pain, clean the wound, and keep jumping...even when it hurts...even when we are afraid...knowing that we will probably fall again someday.
You have to choose which one you will be. The fall is not what makes one weak. It's what happens AFTER the fall that determines that. So if you fall, get up. Don't give up. Be strong and remember that failing does not mean you are a failure. It means you get another chance to jump!