Today I was looking through my Volleyball USA magazine and read "You can't force-feed passion" by Mike Sealy. Reading the following quote struck me hard as a teacher, parent, and coach. I have needed to hear this for a long time, maybe it was said to me before, but I finally heard the message.
What am I?
I am a Teacher.
What can I do?
I can expose you to ideas, but I cannot tell you what to think.
I can guide you, but you must discover the limits of your own potential.
I can encourage you, but your greatest fulfillment must come from within.
I can listen to you, but I will not tell you what to say.
I can look with you, but I cannot tell you what you will see.
I can move with you, but I cannot tell you what to feel.
I can speak with you, but I cannot tell you what to hear.
I can do some things with you, but you can do more with yourself.
I can guide you on the path of discovery, but I cannot tell you the answer.
For so many years I took it personally when a student or player didn't get it (why they needed to do their homework, not picking up the tip when you have practiced it over and over, etc.) What was I doing wrong? I tried all approaches, being super encouraging, punishments, rewards, stepping back - nothing was working. After reading the quote, I realized that it is a two way street and the phrase "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink" is so true (unless you are a teacher - No Child Left Behind). Not only is this quote good for parents, teachers, and coaches, but for all young people. They have to know their part and their part is the most important.
Now that I am a parent, I will teach my son my Christian faith and when he is old enough I hope he will call it his own. I have to remember that I can show him the way but I can't force him into the faith. I have to trust Jesus with him.
I have to let him fall so he will know how to pick himself up.
I have to let him struggle so he will know Jesus' peace, learn perseverance, and feel accomplishment.
I have to let him make mistakes so he learns about consequences.
I have to let him hurt so he knows how Jesus can heal.
I have to let him sin so he knows he is forgiven and how to ask for forgiveness.
I have to let him get his heart broken so he will know true love.
I have to let him go so he can find himself.
Through all of it I (and my husband) will be there to love and encourage him. The worst thing I can do as a parent is to shield and protect him from all the hard things life throws his way. If I do then he will be crippled and never know the good parts of life. I will shed many tears, my heart will hurt for him, but in the end I know he will be man God created him to be and strong in faith.