By Ellie Beatty


For years educators have known that praising effort rather than achievement encourages the growth of the individual, both in motivation and in skill. I have seen this to be true at Rock Steady Boxing South Shore.

My father-in-law, Bud, and I attend Rock Steady Boxing every Thursday in Rockland at 110 Fitness. Bud has been battling Parkinson’s disease for 20 years and is now wheelchair-bound with very little strength in his legs. Bud, an engineer who was raised farming tobacco and who has always been strong and productive, now is unable to read, struggles to swallow, and is often difficult to understand.

When we go to Rock Steady Boxing, it’s a different story. After warm-up movement activities, stretches and deep breathing, the boxers don their gloves and have at it with heavy bags, speed bags and double end bags, all to the catchy beat of music.

Bud often comes alive at this time, fighting against the respective bags with all his might. His entire body is involved as he works his arms and his legs move in rhythm while I steady the wheelchair. You can see a glint in his eye as he rouses himself to give it all he’s worth.

And often on the way out, someone comments to me that Bud works very hard at his boxing, praising his effort! He may not be the best boxer in the ring, but he puts heart and soul into his boxing. And that effort is life-saving and hope-giving.