Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Words of Wisdom

I'm reading the book "The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch.  It's about a man dying of pancreatic cancer.  As I'm reading he reflects on life lessons.  Here are two lessons from one chapter that particularly struck me:

One was about his youth football coach:

"Coach Graham used to ride me hard.  I remember one practice in particular.  "You're doing it all wrong, Pausch.  Go back!  Do it again!"  I tried to do what he wanted.  It wasn't enough.  "You owe me, Pausch!  You're doing push-ups after practice."  When I was finally dismissed, one the assistant coaches came over to reassure me.   "Coach Graham rode you pretty hard, didn't he?"  he said.  I could barely muster a "yeah."  "That's a good thing," the assistant told me.  "When you're screwing up and nobody says anything to you anymore, that means they've given up on you."  

This is a different look into criticism and how we take it.  I often think it's because someone doesn't believe in me, but is a great perspective.  

The second quote: 

"There's a lot of talk these days about giving children self-esteem.  It's not something you can give; it's something they have to build.  Coach Graham worked in a no-coddling zone.  Self-esteem?  He knew there was really only one way to teach kids how to develop it: You give them something they can't do, they work hard until they find they an do it, and you just keep repeating the process."  

I like this.  This is why we want our kids to be good at something.  It is important for them to know they are loved beyond "doing" anything, but once a kid takes off at something, it can really build confidence.  I remember learning the Rachmaninoff "Prelude in C# Minor" for my Senior Piano Recital.  I honestly didn't think I could do it.  But, after MUCH practice and hard work, I was able to get it down.  I remember thinking, "if I can do this, I can do anything!"  

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