The mark of a person is not in their achievements, but in what they have overcome…
My daughters went to hear Phil Mickelson, the professional golfer, speak last night to a room full of our neighbors and friends. As a six year old at golf camp, Daly Kay was nicknamed Phil Mickelson because she is a lefty. Daly Kay didn’t take much to golf but has always enjoyed following his career.
She came home and shared several of his speaking points but the one that stood out most to me was this:
“A person’s life shouldn’t be measured by what they have achieved, but by what they have overcome.”
And as a PGA tour hall-of-famer and professional golfer since 1992, Phil could have definitely focused on how his achievements are the mark of his success. But truthfully, in order to have achieved so much, that inevitably also means he had to overcome quite a bit as well. Instantly I thought of how that applied as a parent.
So many times as parents we accidentally gauge the success of our child or our parenting on our child’s achievements. We brag about Johnny’s mile pace or we gush over suzy’s performance at last week’s play. And I’m not hating on those of us who do so…I mean dang…it’s exciting when they succeed! And for the record, I tend to be a bit of a bragger myself.
But the truth is that parenting is not measured by only or even mostly by our child’s performance or achievements. Academically, athletically or otherwise…
It’s measure is best calculated when we remember all the things we have overcome.
Maybe our child overcame bullying. Anxiety. Trouble keeping their grades up.
Math. A break up. They were once the trouble-maker but they’ve gotten better. Once a loud mouth but now a solid leader.
Maybe it’s a lot more serious than that. An addiction. Pornography, drugs, sex. Maybe our child has been going off the rails on a crazy train but things are beginning to stabilize. Success measured by overcoming in these cases is MONUMENTAL compared with the parent who has never struggled at all.
I remember one night watching a brilliant performance in a local musical theater. This adorable young woman who had just sang and danced her heart out for 3 hours stood on the stage at the close of the performance and talked about how she had overcome an eating disorder. Here I had been enjoying her beautiful giftedness while secretly she had been battling and her parents I am sure had been beside themselves helping this sweet daughter of theirs. I was floored. This kind and precious young thing had overcome so much and while my heart broke for their family I silently felt a sisterhood with the mama…“March on mama,” I thought. As I got to know her mom a little I just respected her so much knowing what she had fought through.
So let’s be encouraged today if we are in the throes of something with our kids. Realize that when we feel completely overwhelmed by the challenges we are facing with our child, that we are NOT a failure as a parent because we are in this mess. Let’s instead focus on the NEXT step, the next thing we can do as a family to get through it and we can begin to see our success and our CHILD’s success based not on what they have accomplished but what we AS A FAMILY have overcome.