Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Sometimes you strike out.

Kids, I need you to listen to me. VERY CLEARLY.

Sometimes you strike out. Sometimes you will fail. Sometimes you will lose. (And sometimes you will win.) You won't always be included and you may feel left out. No, you will feel left out.

And you know what? It's okay.

That's life, folks. I think it's time that our kids learned that.

Now I am not saying let's crush their hopes and dreams and break their little hearts. But our children need to know that sometimes what you hope for does not happen. Sometimes things go wrong...or your dreams change. And yes, sometimes your heart will be broken.

Then you get up and dust your self off.

Why am I saying all of this?  Well, it's because kids these days don't experience failure often (or at all). And it is going to make the future all that much harder.

Let me tell you a story.

I started to play softball when I was in 2nd grade. I was the youngest kid on the team. The first day of practice, I got hit with the ball and I didn't want to go back. So guess what my mom did? She took me back the next day...and left me there. She just dropped me off and ran.

And I ended up loving it. You know what else? I was on the team with girls that were 5 or 6 years older than me. And they pitched to me. Three strikes...and I was out. There was no special rule because I was younger. There was no tee to hit off of when I couldn't hit the pitch. And there weren't endless pitches thrown to me so that I always got on base. Nope. I struck out and that was that. But I learned and got better. I LOVED playing on that team my first year and all I remember was the pool party and trips to Pappy's pizza when we won a game. I don't remember failing. Because when you are a kid, you need to learn to lose and not give up.

Let me tell you another story. (This one cuts deep.)

I was in 6th grade and it was our school Christmas pageant. I was set to be one of the narrators. Then at practice, one the the 6th grade teachers cut me off in front of the WHOLE CLASS and said, "I don't think you can be a narrator because your voice is too nasal." And that was that. I got the part of a pretty angel in the background with no lines.

Was I crushed? Yes. Did I live with years of animosity towards that teacher because she robbed me of the spotlight? You betcha.

But you know what? She was right. My voice was nasal and that part might not have been right for me. Whatevs. I got over it (kind of).

I really do understand some of the "everyone wins" mentality. But sometimes it seems to be a little much and I worry that we are raising a generation of kids so accustomed to being coddled that they don't know how to fail. Not only do they not know how to fail, but they don't know how to get up and try again. They give up and take the easier path. But the easier path isn't always the right one.

I just really wish that we could stop making up all of these rules where everyone gets invited to the party or everyone gets on base or no team wins because "we don't keep score in this league". 

We can teach our children to work hard. To rejoice in their successes and to learn from their failures. We can show them that it's normal to make mistakes or not succeed at something. Give them the tools that they need to persevere in this crazy life we are living. Because it doesn't help them if all they know is how to win.

Sometimes you strike out. But you can get back up to the plate and try again. You can ALWAYS try again.

Everyone goes through adversity in life, but what matters is how you learn from it.
~Lou Holtz
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