One such child for me was "Melvin." Melvin was over 200lbs in 5th grade. Looking at his records from previous grades, Melvin had always been in the "slow" group. But there was something about Melvin. Something in his eyes told me there was a whole lot more to this kid than he was showing. I began giving Melvin little academic projects to do on the side and I soon realized that he was very intelligent kid. Melvin's problem wasn't academics it was self-confidence. Not much had been expected of him previously and so he gave very little effort. These extra projects were just what he needed to build his confidence and break through to the real Melvin. I met with his parents and by the end of that year, he had been tested and it was revealed that he was actually academically gifted especially in the area of math. For 6th grade, he participated in special 6th grade class for academically gifted students and he just soared! I often think of Melvin and wonder how he's doing. He'd be about 30-years-old now. (Man I suddenly feel old.)
Yesterday, I had my first experience as a trainer with a running client having an "ah-ha" moment. It was with a member of my beginning running group. We just started our 4th week of the run/walk program that will eventually have the group running 3-miles without any walking. Last week, the plan had us rotating between running 4 minutes and walking 2 minutes over a 30-minute period. The ladies did great, but some were wondering how hard it was going to be the following week when the run portion would be upped to 5 minutes.
The first 5-minute run took place yesterday and all the ladies completed each 5-minute running section without stopping and they were quite pumped with their accomplishment. After finishing the last 5-minute run, one of the participants began to cry. It caught me off guard at first. I thought maybe she had twisted her ankle or something. So, I immediately went over, put my hand on her shoulder and asked was was wrong. She looked up at me and said, "I'm just so happy! I never thought I'd be able to do that. And, I feel so good." They were tears of joy, accomplishment, and pride. I almost had to fight back my own tears. That also may have been because this "client" was my 14-year old daughter. Not sure who was more proud—RunnerDude the Dad or RunnerDude the Coach.
I remember after finishing my very first marathon, being so filled with emotion, that I began to cry. I had no control over it. It just poured out. I was so proud of what I had accomplished that the emotions just took over. I'll never forget that moment. A light turned on that day and I realized I could do just about anything, if I tried hard enough. I've run 9 more marathons since then, but I've not had the emotions take over like that first race. I think it's something about accomplishing what seems like the impossible for the very first time that's a very special thing. Yesterday was my daughter's "Ah-Ha Moment" and it was special to be a part of it.