Reach For the Stars
By Raymond Shipley
We are not all the same. Some are tall, some short; some thick, some thin; some fast, some slow. It is the uniqueness of the individual that colors our world and rather than be shunned, should be embraced.
But this means at 5'8 I'll likely never be a professional basketball player. My children will probably suffer the same fate and struggle when it comes to excelling at activities that require height. Does this mean I must tell them they have limitations - that the sky is not the limit?
Not at all. Although research shows creating highly ambitious goals can become harmful if they are not achieved, it teaches accountability and goal setting. The lesson that one can achieve even lofty goals with the right effort should also be accompanied with the reality that it is better to fail when aiming high than hit the bull's-eye when aiming low. Failure is an inevitability in life, and it is a cold and calculating teacher without which success would be worth nothing. Attempting the seemingly impossible should not be discouraged; to do so would be to encourage mediocrity.
The lessons of life are hard and at times cruel. Failure is a necessary component of success, and should be acknowledged as such. Rather than just tell children they can achieve anything, the lesson to get back up and keep trying is the more important one. Practice, along with patience and steadfastness are keys to accomplishing goals.
It is time to teach children that success is won through effort, not divine right. Top level athletes weren't merely gifted with the skills to be who they become any more than scientists and engineers are granted visions of the future without working for the knowledge to create. There are no limits except those defined by input.