When my kids were young, I used a reward chart to motivate them to accomplish certain tasks. Stickers or stars for cleaning your room, making the bed, maybe even brushing your teeth or being nice to a brother.
But when Olympic gold medal trampoline athlete the Rosie MacLennan was a little girl, her Grandma kept an activity chart up at the cottage for her and her three siblings. "When you did something three times, you'd get a check mark." MacLennan says. "If you only did it once, it was considered a fluke."
Clearly, there's nothing fluky about MacLennan's incredible accomplishments as she prepares for her second Olympic games as a competing athlete, this summer in Rio.
Family is an integral part of Rosie's success, none more so than her mom, Jane, who has a wealth of advice to give to parents whose children might be headed down the Olympic path. "Open the doors to opportunities for your child," she says. "But the motivation has to come from within them." The activity chart helped them to gain a sense of accomplishment from within. "We didn't give them necklaces or bracelets for doing a good job," she laughs.
In a world full of "participation" trophies, Jane emphasizes that kids should be "doing it for the journey," not the reward. In fact when her sons were presented with trophies for summer soccer, of which they had missed half the season, due to their cottage visits, she refused to let them have them. "They didn't earn it," she simply states.
When Rosie was growing, Jane says her role was clear "I was the master scheduler. But more than that she encouraged all of her kids to "train as you want to compete". She says her role now is more of a facilitator and a problem solver. "Every athlete goes through adversity and you have to be there for them."
Today, Rosie's schedule is packed. She's on the trampoline nine times a week, two to three times a day, as well as strength training and Pilate's classes. She needs to maintain this level of training in order to compete at her best in just under a hundred days.
That doesn't leave a lot of time for mother daughter time, which is a big reason she is excited to be a part of the Procter & Gamble #ThankYouMom campaign, which celebrates the role that Moms have in their child's athletic success. "The best part is the gift of time to spend with her Mom and to really say thank you. I'm so grateful that P&G allows me and all athletes to do that."
Rosie knows that when she travels to Brazil, her biggest supporter and motivator will be there with her. "I wouldn't be where I am today without her." Says Rosie "she's been there since day one. She was there when I was scared, wiped off my scraped knees. She was my support, physically and mentally." She adds, "the new P&G campaign has hit the nail on the head. I was in a car accident with my Mom (just like the ad) and the first thing she said was 'are you OK?' She gives me peace of mind. When I saw her in the stands in London, I had instant peace of mind."
"It really pulls at the heartstrings," Jane agrees.
I asked Rosie if her Mom had a motto, what it would be. Without hesitation, she answered "chase the dream, love the journey." Jane pitched in "if the journey was easy, the reward wouldn't be as good."
I think I need to return some of the trophies in my kids' bedrooms, before we meet up in August.
Kathy will be on the road to Rio with Canadian Athletes. She will not be bringing her Grade 7 badminton trophies with her.
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