In the space of a few days I have gone from hero to zero.
After my epic charity swim across the Solent (I don’t like to brag about these things), my five-year-old daughter told my wife she was very proud of my achievement – which was the exact reason for me undertaking such a stupid challenge.
Hearing that comment from her gave me more fulfilment than actually landing on the beach at Stokes Bay after a couple of hours in freezing cold water.
I was listening to Olympian James Cracknell speak a few months back and he made a couple of brilliant points, mainly asking why do we put limitations on ourselves?
If you wanted to run the Great South Run, you could.
OK, it’s going to take some serious commitment, will power and anti- chafing creams, but you could do it.
You may convince yourself that you’re not fit enough, or that you’re not really sporty, or that you look like a muppet in Lycra.
But if you really wanted to do it, you could.
He’d grown up in a family where he was openly encouraged to jump life’s hurdles and not be hindered by them.
He keeps it real by accepting that sometimes it doesn’t work out exactly as planned. But to say you gave your best effort has to be much better for you than not even bothering.
After hearing his rationale, it made me think about my own life and how I want my children to grow up. Do I want them to grow up in a house where we’re constantly saying ‘No, that can’t be done’, ‘I’d love to do that, but it’s a bit too tough’? Or in a family where ‘Yeah, you can do that, I’ll help and support you, go for it’ is the underlying message?
I’m not sure any of us have the makings of Olympians in our family (especially me in my rather un-flattering wetsuit), but you never know.
Shortly after my short stint as superdad, I was brought back down to Earth rapidly.
Whilst cleaning out the car (a brilliant and cheap half-term activity for children), Molly stumbled across a cassette. Holding the jaded piece of history in her hand she asked ‘Daddy, what’s this?’
I then went into great detail about the legend of the cassette and how it works. To say she found it amusing is an understatement. She was laughing/bleating cross-legged, trying to contain her excitement.
‘But it’s got two wheels in it,’ she kept saying.
When you consider that a MP3 player the size of your little finger can hold 5,000 songs and a C90 cassette struggled to hold 25, you can see where her little brain found the comedy.
I wonder how James Cracknell manages to stop acting like an old numpty in front of his kids?