I read an article this week about a college quarterback that wanted to transfer after his second season. He was redshirted his first year and he was played sparingly his second year. He went to his coach and asked him about being able to transfer (this was before the portal). The coach told him he would grant his request but also said, “It’ll be the biggest mistake of your life. You came here to be the best. You came here because of the great competition. If you walk away now, you’ll always wish you had stayed and tried to compete. You’ll always wonder what would have happened if you had stayed.” The player could have blamed his lack of playing time on the coach, other players, or just bad luck, but he did not. He accepted the fact that this was a hard thing and he had a choice to make. He made the choice and stayed. I wonder what the story would have been for Tom Brady had he left? But he did not. He did a hard thing.

No one wants trouble. And hard things are well…hard. I want you to make things hard in terms of high standards. Whether it is to make a team or to handle disappointment correctly or to honor authorities when the break does not go your way. I love the story of Michael Jordan and his mom, Delores, after he got cut from his high school varsity team. She said, “We both cried, ’cause I knew he wanted to really compete with the other guys. My words to him was, ‘If you really want it, you work hard over the summer,’ and he did that summer!”

We do what we do ultimately so that our students are ready when they graduate for a world that does not love them like we do. In order to prepare them for the endless challenges of the public square we must teach them how to handle hard things, not exempt them from it.

We manufacture those hard things by setting high standards and expectations for attendance in order to stay on a team. We do it by requiring a certain level of fitness to play in a competition. We set team skill metrics where we constantly remind them after each game as to whether they succeeded or failed in their attempt. We also help them deal with humiliation of a bad loss or a bad individual moment effectively by not blaming others but rather by asking what can we learn from the experience and is there anything we can do to minimize it from happening again.

Sometimes students respond and grow. Delores Jordan continued the quote above: “That summer, he (Michael) focused. He would practice all day. That basketball never left his hand.” That is an example of being teachable and overcoming. And we know the rest of that story.

I think in all this that is the word we should focus on. Overcoming. The Bible says, “We overcome the world by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony”(Rev. 12:11). At Cary Christian School we teach about the necessity of the power of God in our lives. We must also teach about the power of the their testimony. We all know that there is no testimony without tests.

Some we will create and some will just come their way. We want to continue to encourage them to face the tests and overcome them. A famous person in history, when asked to do a really hard thing by His Father, even asked if there was a way to avoid the hard thing He was being asked to do. He, of course, went forward and followed through. And we all have benefited because of it. It pales in comparison, obviously; but imagine the blessings we might deprive our students and the ones they impact, if we do not push them to overcome!

Thank you for what you do.


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