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Sunday, July 1, 2007

What makes a winner?

The family insisted that I take it easy today. They think I need a little time to get over the hospital stay. I've propped my feet up and feel like a real princess receiving her every wish.

I love old movies. Anything black and white is all right with me. It's not just the lack of color but rather the infusion of great morals and values. I love watching men and women push for the best, reach for the stars and go deep within themselves to find honor.

I've been watching Knute Rockne, All American with Ronald Reagan. I'm not a sports person and barely know the rules of any sport. I love the way many of those old movies present the most impossible situations (many of them true stories) yet men of strong character find a way to push through and overcome. This movie reminded me of another sports movie Rudy. In that movie (also about Notre Dame) Rudy has to overcome the internal battle that we all must face - our fear and doubt in our own abilities.

It seems to me that the only really tough battles are those within our own character.

When people have to do without things they get creative and usually find a way to keep going. But when a person allows the twists and turns in life to destroy his determination, then he is truly lost. As long as we find the strength to push through the depression, discouragement, sorrow, despair, slump, hard times and defeat - we will be winners. We are never defeated as long as we continue to try.

The best example of pushing through the hard times is the new movie, The Pursuit of Happyness. It's a hard movie to watch because you are sure with each twist and turn that Chris Gardner will have to give up. Each problem builds on the previous until you are positive there is no way he will overcome. By the end I was in total crying meltdown. The truly amazing part of the story is that it is all true. He was victorious (sorry if I ruined it for you - still good to watch) and so fantastically successful that his story not only made a movie but is still on the New York Times Best seller list.

Will it make your child a winner to give him everything he wants or needs and require nothing in return?


Will it give your child character to come to his rescue with every little problem and never allow him to work things out on his own?


Will you be able to prepare your child to make it in this world if you keep him so comfortable he never experiences pain, suffering or distress of any kind.


As good parents we have to know the Balance Needed to teach our children how to make it when times are rough and how to keep our character strong when we are enjoying the good times.


Make sure your children see the good in family members and that they understand that having character and honor is far more important than money or success. If you have a million dollars but your wife hates you - you are not a success. If you are the president of a large corporation but you barely know your child's name - you are not a success. If you have fame or power but your friends think you are a jerk, what's the point?

Make sure you find ways to help your children practice doing without. For example, don't give them every big name toy. Give them tools to make their own toys. One year my children begged for a laser tag game. It had guns, arm bands and a vest that were all set to ring with the laser. Trouble was we couldn't afford it. Solution: I made vests with Velcro and gave them guns that shot ping pong balls. We covered the balls with Velcro. Okay, maybe you couldn't shoot quiet as far but the running, screaming, laughing and playing was just as loud as it would have been with the $200 game.

When we could, we bought the real stuff. Just as often, we made look-a-likes.

Part of your job as parent is to be the protector. Never put your child in a position to be mentally or physically damaged. Do allow your child to go beyond the status quo. Allow him to try difficult things and encourage him when he is down. Give your child wings and then step back and allow him to fly. There will be times when the best decision is to back off or quit. But with each try your child will become stronger and with each success your child will be able to take anything life dishes out.

God loves you,


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