Challenges and Achievement

                                                                           by Robb Hadley

        A few summers back, it was a bit of a shock to see our young son distraught over a ball game.  In the middle of a so-far winless season, Ben’s team, the Scorpions, had lost their eighth game in a row.

     Ben was particularly upset because he had struck out looking a couple of times, and because his otherwise stellar pitching performance was marred by a mental error:  He attempted to get a runner out at the plate with two out when an easy throw to first would have ended a scoreless inning.  The runner on third scored; the batter ended up at third, and touched home shortly thereafter.

     Karen and I said all the things parents say in such situations.  We talked about how well he had pitched and about how few batters he had walked.  We noted the good plays made by his teammates.  However, our words had very little effect on Ben’s demeanor.

     Flash forward to the next game:  The Scorpions found their stingers and won 12 to 5.  Ben pitched three scoreless innings and hit an inside-the-park home run.  Dad, unfortunately, had a speaking engagement.  Ben called, ecstatic, on my cell phone to tell me the exciting news.  By the time I got home, he had reckoned that his team would win all their games the rest of the season.  What a difference a win makes– only six little innings.

     Psychologist Susan Carney is a nationally-recognized writer on children.  She says,  “There is a common belief that kids should be protected from all measure of bad experiences or feelings.  The (faulty) thinking is that if a child doesn’t make the team (or win first prize, or get invited to the birthday party, or get straight A’s) that it will damage his or her self-esteem.  The fact is that this kind of ‘protection’ merely robs kids of the opportunity to learn to cope with problems, failure and disappointment.  In the real world, everyone does not win first place, and we do kids a disservice when we teach them to expect that.”

     As parents, we have the obligation to encourage them to do more than they think they can.  When we do so, they can achieve.  When they achieve, all that self-esteem stuff is thrown in free.

     It is even more important that we train and prepare our kids for the spiritual challenges they will one day face.  For us to do any less is to let them down.

                                                                                  via “The Seeker”

                                                                               Fayetteville, AR

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