Megan has about three weeks left of school. Like a lot of other kids in school, she can only think about the finish line. How many days until she is done with first grade, gets a vacation, and enters second grade? Right now that is all those thoughts dominate her mind.
We are using this time, this moment, to emphasize three McLane values. She knows them… now she is getting to live them.
Value #1: Winners don’t look back. It doesn’t matter what the sport is, if you keep your eye on your competition and what they are doing you are more likely to lose. We teach our kids to focus on doing their absolute best. If they are in first place… only look at the finish line and do your best. For her school work Megan needs to focus on being #1 and not focusing on what her friends are doing. They may be doing great right now, or they may be cashing it in. But there is still important learning to be done in these final moments. I know that historians tell you that looking back helps you not make mistakes in the future… that may be true for some things. But for me, my ministry and my business depend on my looking forward toward the goals and focusing on the winning… all that matters are the two times I can control: Today and tomorrow. Looking back only leads to failure.
Value #2: Never give up. We say this all the time when we wrestle and play with the kids. “Do you give up?” The right answer is “Daddy, I never give up!” (As they are pinned down on the floor struggling to get up and knock me down.) The life of a McLane is never a bed of roses. We’re not handed anything… we earn what we have with hard work, diligence, honesty, and perseverance. I moved out of my house before my 18th birthday and I learned this lesson the hard way. Sure God wants to bless us. But in my life, God blesses me when I’m working hard. I expect my kids to translate that value to everything they do. From soccer to karate to 1st grade. Until the teacher or coach tells them its time to go home, they don’t give up.
Value #3: Finish strong. Let’s face it. Most people are lazy. They know that doing 70% of their job and making 51% of people happy means doing a “good job” and getting a raise. Our society expects and rewards mediocrity. (Sorry, but this is why I hate unions. Unions reward mediocrity.) I don’t believe God desires mediocrity from His children. We teach our kids that finishing strong matters. From the first day of 1st grade to the last day of first grade… everyday matters. When I’m at work, finishing a project strong is all that matters. It doesn’t matter that I’ve had a great week of preparation. It doesn’t matter that the meeting started good. It doesn’t matter that I have a good plan. What matters, what you are judged on, is execution. Strong execution of a plan, task, or even a sermon makes up for inadequacies in other areas.
These are the values I teach my kids. Are they biblical? You tell me.
What values do you teach your kids? What values do you express in your daily life that emphasize who you are, your life story?
Bonus: What does this have to do with the Protestant Work Ethic?