Last week I sat and listened as a young mom shared what she had been doing to encourage her 5 month old son to roll over.
She said,” He just doesn’t seem to be motivated. He is content to just lay there. “
She shared how he would grasp toys that were overhead, but she could not get him to reach across midline to get them.
As I begin working with him, presenting the toy to his hand and guiding him to follow it, I noticed what I see often;
There comes a point when we decide the work is just not worth the effort.
He tracked it with his eyes and reached for a while, but I could soon see that the toy was not that important to him. When it got out of reach, he stopped going after it.
So we tried a different toy. When that didn’t work, we tried mom’s face, big sister’s hair, and if I had been at his house, I would have suggested a pet.
We had to figure out what he cared about and what he wanted badly enough that he would go after it.
It is not always about motivation, sometimes there is a reflexive pattern holding them back, making it difficult to reach out and move.
Sometimes, there is an underlying weakness or low muscle tone, a visual deficit, or fear of movement..
but even in these scenarios we still needed to find a motivator that would encourage active participation in the training.
I could bring his hip across and facilitate passive movement all day, but I needed to find what would engage him.
Mom pulled a favorite toy out of her bag and immediately his eyes lit up and you could see the “want to” .
His hand reached up , but as before, when the toy was brought out of reach, he struggled to follow it.
I gently brought one knee up and placed his foot across the opposite leg in the direction he wanted to go to help and this time as he reached, I provided a light touch behind his elbow, guiding him across midline.
That was all he needed.
Next thing we knew he was playing happily on his belly interacting with the toy.
Just like that little boy,
We often find ourselves in a position where everything we want seems to be out of our reach.
We long for more, but we have lost the motivation to even try and reach for it anymore.
We’ve tried and tried but always came up short.
We just can’t muster up the energy to engage anymore, so we just settle for where we are.
The thing that struck me that day was that …
Sometimes all it takes to help someone move is to sit down next to them, figure out what lights up their eyes, and help them reach for it.
No heavy lifting required, just a gentle touch guiding them in the right direction.
How many of us could use that kind of facilitation now and again?
I know I could.
I have spent the last year doing some deep soul searching to help me find my motivator; my reason or purpose for moving.
Because I had lost it.
As a child I thrived on moving.
I was a gymnast and if I wasn’t in the gym I was in a tree. I was not the best or most coordinated but I loved it.
I realized after going through my WHY search, that it wasn’t just the physical movement that I loved.
There was something else that caused me to pitch a fit and scream at the top of my lungs when my mom would ground me from going.
There was something else that lit me up and compelled me to go to that gym 4 days /week and stay up til 2am doing homework to keep me from missing it.
I never realized what that was until recently..
- It was my coach who encouraged and facilitated my development.
- It was the older girls that took time to model it for me and mentor me.
- It was the shared experiences with team mates.
- It was the common struggles, aches and pains
- It was the KNOWING that if I slipped of the uneven bars and landed face first on a crash pad that someone would be there to make sure I was alright;
and not only that , but encourage me to try again.
It was not until I reflected back on the people, places, and experiences that had an impact on me that I realized how vital healthy support and connections were for my growth and development.
I had a silent struggle all these years that finally took a toll on me.
You see my soul had been searching for a team, a tribe, a place of belonging and no matter how much I moved toward people and tried to engage and pour into others, I could never find that same connection that I thrived under as a child.
So as much as I loved people and I loved coming along side and supporting and encouraging them,
I became tired and weary of doing it alone.
So I stopped reaching. Moving. Facilitating others.
I got tired of shaking my rattle by myself. I wanted a band to play with.
What’s the point of playing if there is no one to play with?
Sure its good to learn independence and develop milestones, but for what purpose?
Don’t we roll over so we can crawl so we can access our environment so we can engage it so we can..
So I quit reaching. I quit doing the work. What was the point?
At first it was by choice.
I just didn’t have the energy or motivation to engage anymore.
But after awhile I recognized that it was not healthy for me or my family to just keep lying flat on my back;, either I was going to develop a flat head, or I was going to start banging it … I actually did that a few times which is another story but I knew that I had to start moving again. But try as I might, I could not figure out how.
I was stuck.
I got tired of hoping someone would come along and provide the support I needed to move from striving to thriving again.
So I decided to do the work it was gonna take to move again.
I re discovered my passions and found what inspired me to reach out with purpose and move efficiently again.
That thing that pushes me to work through discomfort and overcome struggle so I can play happily on my belly.
And not only am I moving, I am now on the look out for others who are flat on their back and are in need of the same thing I was.
Someone to come along side them and encourage them.
Someone to care about their growth and development.
Someone to be a mentor. To model for them what they have learned through experience.
Someone to be there when they fall down, to help them up and challenge them to try again.
Someone to just sit down next to them, help them figure out what lights up their eyes and help them reach for it…
If that is you, I have a tribe for you. I have a team for you.
Let’s join hands and do this thing together.
Because what I have learned is that we can survive alone, but to thrive we need each other.
“Let your hand be with me” 1 Chronicles 4:10