I grew up in a world where facing obstacles was the norm. Grit, determination and endurance were the keys to getting by.
But my children don't know that world. My wife and I have worked hard to earn a better life, a life our boys get to experience as relatively easy and comfortable. And because of this, they are at a major disadvantage. They have a leg up on life that will only help if I can teach them the entrepreneurial hustle I learned by way of a challenging upbringing.
While there definitely isn't a one-size-fits-all method of instilling entrepreneurial values, I've discovered a way to turn one of my passions into a vehicle for teaching my children the principles that matter most.
Create a challenging environment.
I am an avid-CrossFitter. Because of my obsession with the sport, my boys started doing full CrossFit workouts at age two. They began as spectators, watching their mother and me do our daily WODs (workout of the day). Now they do their own independent WODs. Or, if they are really lucky, they do the WOD with the class, "but only if there are no weights, right Daddy?"
There are many ways for me to teach my boys the values they need to be successful in this world. That said, I have yet to find a better teacher than consistently exposing them to difficult work. Here's why:
They watch us make good decisions everyday.
Most of my education came by way of confronting difficulty.
Thanks to CrossFit, most days our boys watch their mother and me make ourselves uncomfortable -- on purpose -- so that we become stronger and healthier. They watch us modify workouts that are too hard. They watch us come in dead last, behind everyone else in the gym, because we push ourselves to our limits. They watch us make good decisions that improve our lives, with the evidence of how hard it is right there, dripping from our foreheads.
They witness diversity and teamwork.
At CrossFit, our boys get to see community, teamwork and diversity in action. They watch us work in teams and they watch us compete against every make and model of human in God's creation. Yes, that means I'm competing against agile high school boys, new moms, petite older women well into their 80's and crusty old dudes, all scaling the WOD to a level that makes it challenging. We all work hard, cheer each other on and support each other. And we don't put our weights away until the last worker is done.
Even though we are doing the workout alone, we have support from a team of people who help us do our best and reach our goals.
They see us do hard things.
If you do it right, CrossFit is hard. It hurts. I sweat. Sometimes I even drool. After longer, more demanding workouts, I may roll around on the ground trying to catch my breath before I can even sit up to give the boys a high five or a hug (yes, they run over to support me -- see Teamwork section above).
Over a door in our home we have a sign that reads "We can do hard things." One of our Bodenhamer Family Rules echos that sign, "Bodenhamers do hard things." CrossFit brings this lesson to their daily lives. When our boys are confronted by difficult challenges it's pretty hard for them to make excuses when they watch mommy and daddy push themselves to their limits day in and day out. Instead, they say things like "Daddy this is really hard, but I'm doing it because Bodenhamers do hard things."
CrossFit has taught them to fight to the finish.
The CrossFit routine has taught our boys to fight through adversity. Whether they are fighting through 100 box jumps, wall balls, squats and situps or confronting bullies, looking out for autistic classmates, or making significant contributions to my landscaping projects, they conquer the challenge in front of them.
The immediate result of a consistent WOD is a healthy life, but the real value CrossFit has delivered to our children is the constant reminder of values, hard work and discipline that success demands. My goal for our boys is that they learn to see these daily reminders in all areas of their lives.
Daddy is proud of you Titus, Solomon and Jeremiah, aka "The Machine," and I'm thankful for the values our family has learned from CrossFit.