Tag Archives: Spring fever

To Finish and Finish Well

I was talking with my children about how the end of the school year is so hard for everyone. The spring weather calls to us, wanting us to come outside and enjoy the sunshine and beauty. The school work has been getting more difficult throughout the year, so that by the end of third quarter, we are just starting to break into some truly challenging material. The final exams also mean more intense study. Meanwhile, summer planning has made the excitement of a break from all of this intensity creep into our minds. It’s the perfect storm for poor school performance.

As I considered all of these things, I realized why I always had such an upper hand on my classmates in school. I pretty much conquered school without even thinking too hard about it. Yes, I was the correct learning style for the school room (visual and aural learner), and I had self-discipline and intelligence. Connect that with fundamental respect for adults in authority and personal responsibility, and I see how I was way ahead of the game.

However, as the kids and I talked through the challenges of year-end, I realized that I was able to move beyond my peers because I am a finisher. Although by personality and gifts, I am a very creative, not-too-organized idea-generator, somehow I also have the gift of perseverance. I go until the bitter end. Some would argue this is just a strong will. It is. But it is also a gift because I won’t give up or let obstacles slow me down. When most of my classmates sat down at the end of third quarter, I kicked into high gear. Some day, I’ll share the story of how I won the first and only 5K race in which I ever participated because of this exact principle.

The whole point of this discussion is to teach my children that sometimes in life you win just by showing up consistently and finishing the race. It doesn’t have to be pretty or perfect. In fact, oftentimes, it is not. But that old fable of the turtle and the hare is based on an immutable truth. Perseverance matters. And if you can even increase your performance at the very end, you will pass by many of your peers in any area of your life.

It is humbling to admit that I used to care about finishing well for the sake of college scholarships or job promotions or recognition or honors. Now, I care about it for my soul and my family’s eternal salvation. I want to be able to say what St. Paul said in 2 Timothy 4: “I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith. From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, which the Lord, the just judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but to all who have longed for his appearance.” (2 Timothy 4: 7-8)

 

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Letting Go and Spring Fever

I seem to have been hit with early spring fever. Today, I cannot stop cleaning and decluttering. I really do not see myself as “attached” to many things, until I have to start making decisions about what stays or goes. I finally hit desperation and called in my youngest two children. “Which of these videos should we keep, and which ones should we get rid of?” I asked them both.

“Ooh, let’s get rid of this Gulliver’s Travels because it was creepy,” said the youngest. Followed by, “But let’s keep this version of Gulliver’s Travels because it may be old, but it’s good,” declared the sibling.

“What? How did we get two versions of the same movie?” I say out loud.

My children suggest we get rid of Dora the Explorer, but I remind them of a friend who visits and loves these movies. We finally find three movies that we all agree that we can get rid of–one of those gift sets from a bachelor uncle-type who thought they were kid movies, but they really were not.

Then very nonchalantly, my dear children actually suggest we get rid of Care Bears.  Now, those are fighting words! “I’m not ready to get rid of those yet,” I reply, as I pull each Care Bear video out and sit down to look them over. I am thrown back to a time when my children were toddlers, and goldfish were treats. By the time I look back up from looking back, the children have left the room.

I put the videos back away and move on to the next area to clean. So much for letting go! I sure hope this gets easier as I get older.