Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Race Yourself

I am writing this on the heels of a 2 and 1/2 mile run.  I ran 8.5 minute miles.  It was hard.

Somewhere else in the world, someone just finished a five mile run at a 7 min/mile pace. Another brave soul struggled through a 1 mile walk.  Still another person is stranded in a hospital bed wishing she could walk to the bathroom.

As we near the end of a school year, and award ceremonies loom in our future, I feel compelled to share my thoughts on this subject.  One of the most difficult parts of award ceremonies is that it is always a comparison.  My child won that award because his grades are higher than another child's.  She won most improved because she started out much lower than all the others.

The problem with this model is that all we can ever ask a child to be is himself.  And as long as he is challenging himself to be the very best he can be, he deserves an award.  He deserves an award for being better than he was the day before.  And as long as he is asking questions, listening, trying hard, hanging on to every new concept he reads about or hears or processes, tries new things, never gives up, gives each new thing he tries his all, he is better than he was the day before.  And for that, he is worthy of all the praise in the world.

So, as adults, we have a responsibility.  A responsibility to build our young ones up.  To reward their grades, no matter what letter is attached.

To tell them this:

You are brave.  

I am proud of your hard work.  

You are better than you were yesterday.  

There's just one you.  One person with the unique qualities you possess.  You're an artist.  A chess champ.  A really loyal friend.  A good cook.  A master builder.  A good leader.  A whiz at computer games.  A good speller.  You have great handwriting.  You're a good listener.  A kind person.  You tell the best jokes.  You're patient.  You lift others up.

You see, a year ago today, I was running a 10 minute mile.  But I wasn't challenged.  I set a goal to average 9.5 minute miles.  And then 9 minute miles.  And finally 8.5.  That's where I am today.  Am I content?  For now.  Who knows where I'll be in a year.  That's up to me.

Race yourself.  Be yourself.  Be a world changer.  Change your own world.

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