As parents all we want is for our kids to be successful, yet we often don’t spend enough time teaching them how exactly to achieve this success. With our busy work schedules, dirty houses, crying babies, dirty laundry, and piles of bills to pay, it’s easy for us to miss out on several key opportunities to teach our kids some very important life lessons on how they can become successful.
Since time for parents is often limited, special emphasis should be placed on the quality of the time spent with our kids. Not only what we are physically doing during that time, but the lessons that we teach them during that time as well. One thing that I learned early on in life is that when the time is right, you strike without warning – trust your gut! This is the mentality that led me to marrying my wife of over 10 years! So, I’d like to share with you all an opportunity I capitalized on to teach my son about how to achieve continued success.
My son, Caleb, has not had the easiest time in the fourth grade. He has struggled to keep his grades up, was having a hard time writing papers, and had set high standards of achievement for himself that kept him stressed out quite often. After a lot of hard work, late hours working on homework, and absolute focus during training, he was able to meet two of his biggest goals this year:
- To get into the A/B Honor Roll and
- To qualify for selection into the “Warrior Elite” (a leadership program offered at his MMA gym).
During the car ride home, the energy was just out of this world! I realized my son was glowing from how proud he was, and I felt like I should say something memorable to him – so I did (this is something that I have been working on for some time now. I want to provide my boys with as many positive memories as possible). I looked to him and said, “Caleb, do you know how you were able to accomplish all of this?” He was silent for a moment, and then simply responded, “By working hard, dad.”
I felt like I should say something memorable to him – so I did.
This is exactly what I wanted to hear! This is what our conversation looked like on the way home:
I asked him, “Caleb, when does a mountain look its biggest?”
“It looks biggest when you’re at the bottom,” He said. I knew I had his attention, so I went on.
“Caleb, imagine that you’re at the bottom of this big mountain. This mountain represents your goals this year. Looks pretty high, doesn’t it?”
When I talk to him like this, I like to get really animated. Sometimes, I think he’s embarrassed because my arms flail around, and I’m sure the cars around us wonder what’s going on. I could almost see him going back into his memory and thinking about all of the work he’s put in. He responds, “Yes, Sir.”
“Now, when you get to the top of the mountain, what do you think you’ll see?”
He shrugged his shoulders, and had no clue what I was looking for. I let him think for a while, the truck was silent (I usually turn off the music so he knows I have his full attention). I’m not going to lie, his answer surprised me.
“You see everything,” he said.
I said, “Right, just like we said earlier, when you start your climb up, it seems really hard. As you get to the top, it tapers off, you’re getting closer and closer, now BAM – you made it! You accomplished your goal, and now you can see; you can see further than you could see before – you made it to the top of that mountain. Do you know whats at the top, Caleb?”
As he looks off in the distance, I go on, “At the top of every mountain, Son, is the sight of all the other mountains waiting to be climbed. You can climb those mountains too, but you have to make that choice.”
At the top of every mountain, son, is the sight of all the other mountains waiting to be climbed.
Earlier this year, I showed my son one of the men I look up to, Kendrick J. Farris. One of his philosophies is that your actions have to be consistent with your goals. I agree with this, and have taught this to Caleb. In fact, every time that I feel he is going off track, I remind him of that – your actions must be consistent with your goals.
Your actions must be consistent with your goals.
Recently, I heard of an interesting story and felt it would be appropriate to share with him. This story is about a rowing team that decided they were going to win at the next Olympic Games. Their strategy was simple, yet effective. All of the members moved in together and decided they would come up with a plan to change their decision-making process. Before they would make any decision, they would ask each other, “Will it make the boat go faster?” If the answer was no, they would simply not do whatever it was they were talking about.
“Hey, we should go to the movies!” Will it make the boat go faster? No, so they would not go. The team did this for four years! By changing their thought process, and making it a habit to keep their actions consistent with their goals, this team went on to win gold at the 2000 Olympic games in Sydney.
With Caleb’s recent success still fresh, I took the opportunity to explain why he was successful, and how he could go about continuing to achieve success in the future. Though we talked about the same stuff before, the effect was different when he could feel the joy, and pride from his recent accomplishment. Since then he has been twice as productive and is taking care of things that need to be done before he goes outside to play.
Things you should know about success:
1. Only you can paint your picture of Success
2. You will likely never stumble onto success. Success is achieved through choices, the discipline to make the right choices, and the development of habits that keep you on the right path.
“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily.” – John C. Maxwell
Whether its honor roll, a soccer game, or finishing their first chapter book, give them some constructive praise, and give them the guidance that will produce repeated success. Capitalize on that opportunity! If you don’t, they will eventually stop presenting themselves.
Make the effort, do your part, fight to make your family better. This is what we’re all about.
Fight on Friends! – The Warrior Family
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