“Excellence is caring more than others think is wise. Risking more than others think is safe. Dreaming more than others think is practical. Expecting more than others think is possible.” Unknown
We strive struggle scrimp, save and at last expect things should turn out the way we planned. How pitifully naive we are if we believe that to be true. What we create in our minds is more important and by working towards that outcome it is equally important. The hard part is accepting the finished product which never appears the way we figured. It can be disappointing or it can be an awakening depending on how we look at it.We decide to have a baby and can’t get pregnant. We follow all of the rules and finally it happens. We want a certain sex and of course find out it will be the opposite sex. We look forward to the shower we expect to receive and endure cramps and breathing issues throughout the day of the shower. Those of us who already have kids argue for weeks about getting the yard cleaned and ready for the graduation party. We work in the garden and plant new flowers. The grass gets cut and we leave nothing undone for the special day. We wake up early the day of the graduation to the sound of rain pelting the windows. Glancing out the window we notice our flowers hanging over the grass.
We have an interview which we waited a long time to get. We are exciting knowing the boss finally noticed our great work. We are full of pride and anticipation. We take our seat and notice two other people arrive to take seats beside us. We assume we will be called first. The boss comes out and mentions he will take this other person first because he has looked over his resume already and the boss has an important meeting to go to right after the interviews. They are behind closed doors for a very long time. We look at our watch and discover there is only one half hour left until the boss needs to go to his meeting.
Finally the door opens and both men are laughing and shaking hands. It went well obviously. You are called next and you are thankful for this small gift. The boss is cordial and polite but allows you little time to answer. you are desperate to get everything you wanted to say spoken. Before you are finished the boss explains he must give his last candidate some time and he sends you off with a quick handshake and a mention to tell the next person to come in. You mumble to the next person and drag yourself back to work knowing you have been defeated. What we imagined would occur didn’t happen. We feel like a loser and hold back the tears.
Our kids do well at school but never place first. Our son is a basketball star but finishes second to the key player who knows the coach. We hope he will have a chance at a scholarship but we save our money just in case. We lament with our daughter about the difficulties of relationships when her idol asks another girl to the prom. We almost begin to believe we contaminated our own family with our loser mentality.
What is wrong in all of this is how we are looking at our life. We are missing so much. After the baby was born and lay in the mother’s arms, that mother would not for all the money in the world change that baby in any way and would lay down her life for it. We understand the importance of patience better than anyone. We also appreciate the new child as a gift.
Our rainy day left us a less prideful attitude. We were not swelled up with pride in our house which left us open for conversations with more meaning. It also taught us to remember to prioritize the important things because we obviously spent a lot of time fighting with our spouse about getting the yard in shape.
The lost job showed us how shallow people can be regardless of their important title. People are people. Who would want to work with a boss such as that. it also gave us the determination to attempt to find another job which we now enjoy. It was a tough year but all worth it when we look back at the results of our changes.
The agonies of growing up with some disappointments has taught our kids a tremendous amount. When things don’t come easily, we learn to dig in, work hard engage tenacity and grind our way into succeeding. When we are bested we learn to have regard for those we vanquish. Our kids are further along in their studies of character, empathy morality and truth. We can’t learn so much of this through school but only through life and living.
Being thwarted in our endeavors is not always the worst or end. Sometimes it brings out the best in us and make us more real. After all we don’t all like to be out with the ants and the bees so the gorgeous yard is probably not as noticeably beautiful as we think. The gracious host and animated company of people is so much better. We need to instruct our kids in the knowledge of accepting what comes their way as something to embrace and understand. We are learning that defeats are pushing us in the right direction even when we resist going. The real surprise is at the end of the journey we rejoice that we were sent in that direction which proves to be the correct path.
“What do you want to accomplish? What do you want to experience? What do you want to contribute? What do you want to become? In other words, what does success look like for you? If you don’t define it, you won’t be able to get where you want to go.” John Maxwell
“I have learned that it is not what I have in my life but who I have in my life that counts.” Albert Schweitzer