Effort > Success

swim1He slapped at the water and flailed his way across the length of the pool. Kasen tried out for the Lake Jackson Swim Team back in May and didn’t make it. He just couldn’t breathe properly and struggled with swimming the required 25yd distance without a few dog paddles. It was the first time he didn’t immediately excel in a sport. He cried and didn’t understand why he didn’t make the team. He talked about quitting and giving up.

Miranda and I didn’t really mind the fact that he didn’t make it and I sort of thought, “Well, our summer won’t be consumed by swim meets.” However, when Kasen responded this way something inside me felt differently. I don’t want my kids to think it’s OK to just give up or quit when something is difficult. As a matter of fact, I really believe just the opposite. When something is hard and they have to work at it, I will be even more proud of them. Sometimes effort is more impressive than success. Success may be a result of effort, but the effort/struggle is what grows us and strengthens our character. I don’t want kids who are just successful. I want kids who know how to work and earn their success. Kids who understand that pushing themselves makes them stronger – makes them grow.

For the next 2 weeks, I drove Kasen to the pool every day after school. We hired another swim coach to work with him. (Thanks Andy!) We set goals and worked toward them. Some days went well. Others didn’t.

swim2After two weeks, he tried out again. He made the team. At the first meet in his very first race, he placed 1st in backstroke and got 1st place on his freestyle that day too! For the rest of the regular season, he was never beaten in backstroke. He didn’t have his best race, but still got 6th in the final State meet! For a kid who couldn’t swim the length of the pool only a few weeks earlier, I was really proud. Proud of his effort, not his success. Happy for success, but proud of effort.

Romans 5:3-4 – We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us—they help us learn to be patient.  And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady.” – The Message

PRAYER:
LORD, May this lesson follow Kasen throughout his life. Help him to remember to persevere. Help me to be an example to him of a hard worker, and as a man who doesn’t give up on things that are important, even when they are hard. Give us strength (physical, mental, and spiritual) to endure. Help us to recognize your presence with us and teach us to trust in your strength when we don’t feel like we can go on.

PS – This is why everyone loves the movie, “Rudy.” He was admired by his teammates for his effort – not his success. They were willing to sit out and make sacrifices for him because he was such a hard worker.

Quote: Success includes Play

“If A is a success in life, then A equals x plus y plus z. Work is x; y is play; and z is keeping your mouth shut.” – Albert Einstein

I love that Einstein includes “play” in his formula for success.

Play = work + play + keeping your mouth shut

I think our culture doesn’t value “play” enough. Although I’ve always believed play was important, as a father, I’m beginning to recognize it even more. My children are becoming who they are as they play. They learn how to interact with each other as well as how to interact with the world around them. When they play they develop their creative sides and grow their imaginations. They become inventors who search out solutions to problems and discover how things work.

If adults valued play more, I wonder how many would become innovators? If we “played” at our jobs instead of “working” at them, I believe our attitudes would be different and we’d even be more productive. We’d also have more friends at our workplaces.

If you’re interested, here’s another article I wrote on this subject: http://stevecorn.com/2008/03/play/ 

Christian Parenting Statistics

stetzerCheck out this article from Ed Stetzer’s blog. It describes some pretty interesting research on the state of affairs for most Christian parents today. What does it mean when less than 10% of Christian parents think that “being Godly” or “having faith” is one of the marks of parental success? That means that over 90% of “Christians” believe they can be successful parents without passing on their faith to their own children – those whom they love more than anyone else. Huh?

The research also shows that 83% of parents believe that they are the main spiritual influences on their children, but 48% (almost half) of them don’t consider their own faith as an important influence in their parenting. This means they recognize their influence, but don’t see their faith as a priority in parenting.

All this stuff got me to thinking. I’m gonna sit down with Miranda see if together we can write up a “basic” list of the things we want to instill in our children – I’m sure there will be more, but if we want to be successful, and we want to be intentional about what we consider to be the marks of a good parent, then writing it down certainly can’t hurt. Even if it’s an incomplete list, it’ll be better than nothing.

Anyway, what do you guys think?