I am finding as I grow older, I am saddened by my arrogance and pride as a youth. Yes, confidence is one thing, but ignoring those that have experience in a given forum is foolish, no? For those that don’t know, I have two young daughters who will be a freshman and junior in high school. I am often met with brashness and usually some sort of eye-roll from them whenever I offer some direction. Who am I kidding, it’s usually directives like the trash needs to go out and has yet to be collected. 🙂
I mention that example not because it reminded me of my own youth, but because I often thought my way was far better than everyone else’s. Which, I suppose is ok if it really was better. But, typically it truly doesn’t matter. Did I mention I’m an engineer? There has to be order and precision to the chaos. Doing things twice seems wasteful to me. Maybe though, there is a lesson in the double or even triple effort to accomplish something?
I struggle with relationships. As a kid, I came from a broken home. My mom did her best to provide a loving home. As an adult, I can see those things that I missed as a result. I didn’t have a dad to talk to about stuff. My brothers were much older than me so I often didn’t talk to them either. I was easily the skinniest kid in class and often the focus of jokes; you might even say I was bullied. In many cases, I was left with my own thoughts to figure life out. It is who I am today.
Who am I? Apparently, I am a conservative guy who likes math, science, music, and Jesus. I like burgers, beans, and corn on the grill. I love sports and the competitive nature of the game. There is a winner and a loser in every game. There are many mundane moments in any game. But there are often single moments that determine the outcome. These moments don’t rely on luck or understanding of the game but on your desire to persevere in spite of the circumstances.
There are many examples of perseverance in human history. Today, we make movies about historical figures as well as fictional characters who have a legacy of inspiration. Albert Einstein didn’t speak until he was four, Ben Franklin dropped out of school at age ten, more recently Richard Branson struggles with dyslexia, while Jim Carrey used to be homeless. My wife overcame marrying me to raise two wonderful daughters. 🙂 All kidding aside, she does inspire me every day.
All of those aspects and moments shaped them. I’d even say that without those obstacles, they wouldn’t be who they turned out to be. Which leads me back to the beginning. I know I am who I am because of my past. Had my past been different in any way, I would be a different person. I am thankful for my past. I don’t want to be different.
Watching my kids and their friends grow up today, I am saddened by a society that doesn’t want kids to be roughed up; you know, everyone’s gotta get the participation trophy. There seems to be an ideology where good feelings are valued as the most important life lesson. I’d say hurt feelings have more benefit to your life. Yes, we should encourage and support each other through our struggles, but eliminating the struggle is unbalancing the life equation.
I’ll leave you with this parting thought. I wish I could have thought of it. I’m quoting a fictitious TV father in the context of teaching his college-aged daughter who said…
“you should worry less about who you might offend
and care more about who you might inspire”
Who will you bravely inspire today?