Friday, April 5, 2013

What Does Success Look Like?

There’s a big different between what people think success looks like and what success really looks like,  This past month the Community Foundation has had the opportunity to hang out with the six Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Award Nominees and their teams.  By teams, I’m not talking about football, soccer, basketball, or tennis.  I’m talking about their encouragement teams.  These people included parents and counselors, principals and administrators, teachers and employers, best friends and siblings.  Not one of these students trekked their path of success alone.  As the famous philosophers, the Beatles (J), once said, we get by with a little help from our friends.

I was reminded of this recently when my oldest son, Griffin, was in the last week of his 9 week semester and was on the verge of a ‘B’ in one of his classes.  Now, don’t get me wrong, a ‘B’ is a great grade. A fantastic grade.  I had a few ‘B’s’ over my educational career.  My husband had more than a few…and was thanking the good Lord for them!  But, this would have been Griffin’s first ‘B’.  <<Insert dramatic music here.>>  Of course, we encouraged him, praised him for his hard work, and certainly let him know that a ‘B’ isn’t the end of the world as we know it.  Then, one of his amazing teachers, Senora Anna, sent him a card.  Addressed to him.  In the mail.  At home.  It’s hard to describe the look of joy on his face before he even opened the envelope.  Then came the gleam in his eyes as he read the card she had written in Spanish.  And, that was followed by joy in his heart as he translated to me what she had said, “Your grades do not define you.”  Wow, I’m tearing up just typing that.  But, it’s true.  And Griffin needed to hear it.  And he needed to get some encouragement like that from someone besides mom and dad.  Senora Anna is on Griffin’s team.  And she was our MVP that week.

As much as we’d like to think success is a straight line from where we are, progressing upward…it just isn’t.  It’s up.  It’s ǝpısdn uʍop and winding around.  It’s a ‘B’.  It’s an all-nighter.  It’s Calculus and Chemistry.  It’s downright messy.  Griffin knows it.  And so do Christine Harper, Abram Fleming, Logan Dooley, Joel Kiers, Jennifer Daniel and Nithia Chowattukunnel. Success is a team sport.  And now, our six Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Nominees have the Community Foundation joining their team as first string cheerleaders!  Because we all need as much encouragement as we can get.

Griffin needed it when he thought he might be getting a ‘B’.  (He actually didn’t, by the way.)  You need it when you’ve had a bad day.  The crabby cashier needs it even if you don’t know why.  Encouragement is fuel for the heart.  Besides, I’ve never seen anyone who had been encouraged too much, have you?  No one deserves to have their “Encouragement Tank” running on ‘E’.  So, fill-r-up!

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