It’s funny when you look back on a season of your life that you were so anxious to get out of only to realize that you learned so much while going through it. On my desk, I have a picture of one of the youngster I had the privilege of working with while I was an applied behavior analyst at an early intervention preschool. Every time I look over at this little guy it makes me laugh. Now, that I spend most of my working time in a corporate setting, I realize how blessed I am to have had the privilege to impact and be impacted by the lives of some youngster.
I’m reminded that you can learn so much about life, by being around children. Children are so pure, innocent, without fascade or the societal filters that become a part of adult existence. They are without prejudice, fear, and a clear understanding of doubt. Now, don’t get me wrong. These things exist in children. However they,unlike most adults, they are not governed by them. They are merely fleeting emotions that pass by until replaced by new thoughts such as hunger, the need to not wet their pants, and random impulsivity. For example, I remember sitting at a park with my good friend Brian in college. We were digging into the Word and doing some writing when some children began “playing baseball”.
It was hilarious. As we watched these kids playing their care free version of baseball. I was filled with joy and laughter as I watched them run around knowing absolutely nothing about the rules or techniques. They had no clue what they were doing, but they were playing. Kids just play. You know how kids are…they were just doing stuff. Random stuff. Crazy stuff. Any stuff and calling it baseball. Kids were flipping. Picking their noses. Jokers was crying, and occasionally some bats were being swung. All the kids, at any particular moment in the game, were running. Bases were being moved. It was hilarious. It’s interesting though, because since they neither know or understood the rules or techniques of baseball, they play the game based on what they have seen. So, at some point in their lives they witnessed baseball being played in some form, and now they are attempting to model the behavior they witnessed, the best they can.
They know they are supposed to swing the bat when the ball is thrown. So they swing regardless of the position or location of the pitch.They know they are supposed to run the bases. So whether they hit the ball or do not hit the ball….they run. Not only do they run, but they run to any base they see. It may be first base, it may be third, it doesn’t matter to them, they just know they are supposed to run to a base so they just run to whatever base they saw first.They know they should avoid getting tagged out. So when a defender approaches them with the ball, they run out of control to get away from the ball. They run in circles, they run in zigzags, they scream, they run backwards, and then they cry.
Yeah I understand they were having fun, but if only they understood the rules of the game.
If only they knew they didn’t have to run aimlessly. If they knew that they didn’t have to swing at every pitch, or run to any base. If only they knew that they could just run to the home base and be safe or return to the dugout full of fellow players that would encourage, motivate, and help them to get better. They would find their game more effective, more disciplined, less dangerous, and they would find people and circumstances that are presented as opportunities to learn what they could do better and what to avoid in order to make it home again.
It’s funny because life really is like a child’s version baseball and a lot of us (adults) don’t really understand the simple rules that govern this game of life. We all at different times seem to be playing life based on what we have seen. Which could be a very good or bad thing depending on who you have been watching. We run around aimlessly, we swing at every chance, we simply do not have an understanding of the rules or techniques that enable us to be successful.
Life is really simple. It’s not complex at all. There are very little surprises. The rules that govern our reality have been in place for somewhere between 10,000 to 4.5 billion years (depending on who you ask). So what makes life so hard sometimes?
Maybe it’s me, but I think the hard part of life is being prepared for it. There are so many problems, but yet so many solutions. There are so many walls, yet so many ladders. Preparation, or the act of making ready, involves a word that none of us really enjoy: sacrifice.
It’s funny because in our culture and society today we have the blessing and curse of having the ability to get most things quickly. There is very little need to develop patience, because we are exposed to so many things that can be accessed quickly. It’s ridiculous when you think about it, for many people there is more information inside their pocket, than in their head. Yet and still life is life, and life is governed by the same set of rules. There is no easy way to succeed. The only road to greatness is the hard road. You don’t walk this road casually. This road is not for those looking for the express route. There’s no such thing.
Whether we like it or not, to be successful on this road, to be successful in this game-it requires: preparation and sacrifice.
Great financial counselor and teacher Dave Ramsey says
“If you are willing to live like no one else. Later, you can live like no one else”
What Dave is saying was also revealed in the proverbial books of the Hebrew bible where it says,
Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest.
Essentially, what these two ideas reveal is that life takes more than just modeling behavior in an attempt to be, do, and have. Life demands two things: sacrifice and preparation.Ah it sucks, I know but I believe it will certainly be worth it. There’s so many things I want to attain. So many things I want to do. So many places I must go. A calling I must fulfill. A job I want to do. A business I want to run. It’s crazy because there is only one way to see these things happen. Sacrifice and preparation.
I once had this ridiculous thought, that if I was willing to sacrifice for just 10 years, than I would have the opportunity to enjoy the rest of life. Not so, sacrifice will constantly be a part of my life. Not for just 10 years…but forever. Preparation will always be required. Not for just 10 years….but forever. The enjoyment comes and exist in the midst of the sacrifice and preparation as well as in the attainment of prize.
So what do you want to be? What do you want to do? What do you want to attain? What victory would you like to taste?
Whatever it is and if you really want it, there’s only one way. There’s no magic solution. There’s no easy road. So stop playing based on what you seen, and I’ll meet you on the hard road at the intersection of sacrifice and preparation.
Keep pressing friends,