Friday, October 1, 2010

“What do you think I could change to improve on what I’m doing?” The puzzled football coach looked at Travis considering what he had just asked.

Well, let’s take it apart Travis. “What are your stats on extra points,” he asked seriously?

“Eight out of eight.”

“What about field goals?”

“Seven out of eight,” Travis answered.

The coach leaned across the desk offering his advice, “Son, I wouldn’t change one thing.”

Every coach, employer, teacher, parent considers pursuing excellence an admirable trait and it is, to a point. The problem starts when kids go past that point. Certain personalities are naturally driven and thrive on working the plan. Others aren’t even aware there might actually be a plan and if they do, they want to modify it or ignore it.

As frustrating as it may be, I think it’s easier to push the plan ignorers than to get the plan workers to relax. And if parents push plan workers it can end up in a real mess. The kid is hard enough on himself, then parents up the bar. At some point he’ll never feel like he’s good enough.

Travis was a plan worker and still is. But when he was growing up, it was trying. I spent years praying for his someday wife. I knew he needed someone who would challenge him while keeping him in balance.

After finishing lower than his expectations at the state track meet one year, Travis’ girlfriend asked, “Did you do the best you could at the time with what you had?”

“Yes, I think so,” he said.

“That’s all you can do. If you didn’t give it your all, learn from it and give more next time. Otherwise, you did your best. That’s all God expects from you,” she said with the confidence and authority of a $150.00 an hour therapist.

He listened.

Age, time, and relationships have a mysterious way of mellowing people. For Travis’ benefit, his wise-beyond-her-years girlfriend is now his wife.

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