How much effort we give to a task, thought, or relationship affects the outcome. Sometimes the effort and the outcome don’t always match; you can try your best and still (in your mind anyway) not succeed and some people appear to have it all with minimal effort (take note of the word “appear”)! Appearances and opinions aside, I think we can all agree that the harder you try, the better the result will be, no matter the endeavor.
Some of you are thinking “No shit, Sherlock” and ready to head on over to your sister’s page to make catty comments (born of jealousy) to your husband about her hot holiday pics but bear with me.
My youngest child is on a team that is having a tough go this year. We are halfway through the season and they have yet win a single solitary game. This is hard and I keep thinking or lamenting (to my husband) on just how hard this is for the kids but part of me wonders if it isn’t harder for the parents, myself included.
Yesterday my son said there are a couple of other teams in his league who “only care about winning”. I commented, as gently as possible, that most teams do. “Not our team, mom. We care about EFFORT. That’s why we say “Effort” [repeatedly] while we come down the hall!” His older brother and I exchanged looks and smiles. Not mocking him (I feel it’s necessary to point this out because often that IS what we do in our family) but just enjoying his sincerity and acceptance that effort is better than actually winning.
He’s the nicest kid alive, I swear to god. Don’t get me wrong, he also has a temper and he’s not perfect because none of us are, but he’s so good. Inherently good. In our family we call him “Soft”. There is no one softer, more loving, more caring, or with a bigger heart.
So while I’m in the stands inwardly (trying very hard to keep it in anyway) when their team is struggling – he’s out there believing the effort is what matters and he’s right. Winning is great. Losing is not. Losing repeatedly really sucks and don’t get me wrong he has mentioned once or twice not wanting to go anymore (in a moment of grumbling – once it’s time he’s always ready to go). He is a better person than I; I would be miserable, I would not want to go, and I’d be blaming others. I’m not proud of these facts but I know myself well enough to know it’s true. I’m a real gem.
How did I end up with this child? His dad. His dad (otherwise known as my husband) is nice. Nicer than me by far. He enjoys visiting with people, talking on the phone, and because he’s a sports fanatic sees the bigger picture better than I do. I will lament an icing call and he’ll tell me it’s okay because the team needed to change anyway. I dislike visiting unless you’re someone I’m very comfortable with or want to be, and phone conversations are typically reserved for my grandmothers, my oldest son, and people calling to confirm appointments. My husband spends a great deal of time explaining sports to me and listening to me rant about the various injustices I feel I’ve encountered on any given day. He is patient and caring and nice and just like that, so is our youngest.
*My other kids are great too- intelligent, funny, natural born leaders who get shit done, and just amazing. He’s all of those things with an extra big heart and there isn’t one of them who wouldn’t agree.
Do I hope my son and his team win a game this year or have I become so enlightened that I am going to revel in his year of learning to lose graciously and growing as a person? No, I hope they win. Even just one game. They are good kids and they are trying their best. They are getting better and they are getting better because they haven’t given up and I can’t help but feel they deserve to reap the rewards of their efforts – even if just for one game! It may not happen and that’s okay but damn it’d be nice if it did!
Guess what though? Whether you’re trying to become a better cook, lose weight, advance in your career, or be a better person over all – even if it doesn’t seem like you’re “winning” as often as you’d like or at all? You’re trying. You’re efforts will not go to waste even if you can’t see it right away. Workout all week and then “blow it” with a pizza on the weekend? You didn’t blow shit. One pizza (bottle of wine, cake, whatever your poison) doesn’t undo the benefit that exercise had on your heart, your circulation, your mental health, and your muscles! Lose your temper with your kids after making a resolution to become Mary Poppins incarnate? Good, you’re still human. You can still say you’re sorry (unless the little brats did something really horrendous – even then you can say sorry for yelling or throwing the Hatchimal down the stairs without excusing their behavior)! You’ll all feel better for it.
So if nothing else, take a cue from my ‘Baby’ and appreciate the Effort – your own, that of others, and maybe most importantly, your child’s – we’re all trying our best goddamn it, let’s acknowledge and appreciate it!