By Brian Keith Shrewsbury
Gym Owner, Coach and most of all Parent.
Raising happy healthy kids to adults was my aim as well as my wifes’ aim these last 20 years. Both of us tried to create an environment at home, where our kids were loved and encouraged and also praised for their achievements. As parents we made every effort to set reasonable expectations for their achievements. We taught them the boundaries of right and wrong and to empathize with others feelings. Barb and I are parents of 8 adult children and 2 on the way to becoming adults. I have to say it has been the hardest job I have ever done, and I think Barb would agree.
Barb and I met over 20 years ago. She was already raising 7 biological children, and was in the middle of a divorce. I was the gymnastics coach to her 4 youngest kids at the time. I was young and naive and Barb was already a seasoned parent with a lot of experience as a mom. After her divorce, Barb and I began to date and eventually got married. After we got married we began raising the 4 minor children together. Barb’s older kids were getting married and starting their own lives and got lost in the shuffle sometimes. As parents I believe we did a lot of good things for the younger 4 kids. Eventually 3 more kids came along through adoption. In hindsight I wished we had done more with the older kids that were still struggling with being adults. Parenting has no guide and I believe we made some mistakes; and we did do some things well along the way too.
One of the best things I think Barb and I did with our kids was keeping them in gymnastics. Our kids grew up with a sport they were proud of doing. Gymnastics kept them out of trouble and away from drugs and alcohol. It kept their bodies strong, and challenged them in so many ways both physically and mentally. Most of all, the environment our grew up in was stable. At the gym; they had many friends and a way to put their minds on something positive, and at times a way to get out of of the family drama that sometimes occurred. With a big split family drama is inevitable. At times Barb and I struggled financially. Struggling financially takes a toll on parents and parenting; yet the gym seemed to be the outlet that was good and always there for all of us.
Today I believe we have good adult kids; maybe even exceptional. Despite many of our family hardships I think we can look back and see we did some good things as parents. Our kids are hard working and responsible; some of them are even better with kids than we are. I think that they are proud of their past in gymnastics. Today many of our kids enjoy teaching gymnastics to other kids. I have heard two of my kids say how happy it makes them to see kids happy doing gymnastics they way they did when they were younger. None of the medals or championship titles they earned are as important as what was imprinted on their brains in the gym. We created a good environment where they we’re loved by us and by many other great families that surrounded them and loved them. Even today my kids are blessed to have so many people surrounding them and supporting them in their jobs working with kids.
It is my opinion that doing a sport that made them feel great about themselves, and being in a good environment that was stable and challenging, helped our kids become good adults. It is a hard journey to become a successful adult; especially with so many kids. The nurturing environment in our gym, helped our kids excel in many areas socially, educationally and emotionally. Even when there were struggles at home and in life, I do believe the one thing that was the glue for all of us was the gym. We both love all of our kids even when we want to pull our hair out about things they do. Barb and I are proud of all of our kids first and foremost; their achievements and their love of God.
#blessedparents #mgaproud #lovedforathousandyears