Theo: Finding Success
"Use your head." Ever heard that before? Did you know your brain is like a computer? Imagine what a miracle it is to be able to think. God gave you a brain to use - use it well. Don't be afraid to use it. Don't be afraid to make a mistake. Your brain is a tool - it helps you work - it helps you play. Your brain can learn new things. There's lots of room in there. Mess around! Fill it up! Have fun!
School is play. School is hard work. School can be boring. School can be exciting. School can put you together with friends. School can sit you next to people you don't like. School has really good teachers. School has teachers that are not so good. School can make you sooooo happy. School can make you sooooo upset. School can make you proud of yourself. School can make you embarrassed. School is all of these things and more. School just is - so like Nike says... Just Do It!
Can I say on this day the many ways you are and will be? The joys, the pains, the loss, the gains, the sunshine, the rains that await you. Day by day, week by week, month to year to grown up to always growing. You will never stop changing, growing, living, working, playing and just plain doing. If you don't get it today, then work and you will get it tomorrow. It's called learning. It's called living. It's called life! I love you so much!
I was thinking about some good rules for you to try and live by this year and I came up with these:
1) Never underestimate yourself.
2) Define yourself by your strengths not your weaknesses.
3) Always do a little more than required.
4) Believe in yourself.
5) Never underestimate the amount of work you have to do and the time it will take to do it.
6) Put your schoolwork first and fun stuff second.
7) Remember that Mom, Melissa and I are here to help you, but you have to be willing to help yourself.
Here's an interesting formula to think about -
STRUGGLE + SUCCESS = GROWTH
It works! This one also works -
STRUGGLE + FAILURE = GROWTH
Everything we do involves struggle. Sometimes we win sometimes we lose. But no matter what happens we grow. We grow and learn. It all starts with the struggle. It all ends with growth. Cool hunh?! I love you so much!
It doesn't matter what other people think about who you are and what's good for you to do. Are you surprised I would say that? I don't mean that you shouldn't listen to your parents, teachers, coaches or friends - of course you should listen and consider. What I mean is that you have to look inside yourself and find your own value, your own goals, your own path. Then think about the things you have to do to make your dreams come true. There are always obstacles that stand in your way or challenges that must be faced in order for you to keep moving forward. Accept them, deal with them, overcome them and move on. Listen to your heart and follow your own path. I love you!
Last night at chorus practice we started right out with this Stephen Sondheim broadway musical song. I was nervous because I start it out with a whole verse solo. When it was over Marlene said, "your solo was good Bob, it'll sound better when you get some confidence."
Ain't that the truth! Doesn't everything work out better when you have confidence in yourself and in your ability to do it - to get the job done? Confidence is key I think to success in anything. If you believe you can learn something, write something, or throw something well, the chances are you will. Have a great day and night Theo! See you tomorrow!
Know yourself! Know your strengths, your weaknesses, your likes, your dislikes, what's good for you, what's bad, what helps, what hurts, what you want to do and what you don't want to do. "Want" is a complicated word that we usually underestimate. "Want" has all that stuff I started this note with inside it. It's not only what do I feel like at the moment, for example, "what do I want to accomplish in my life?" Or more short termed like, "What do I want to accomplish in my Junior year?" It's good to think of these kinds of "wants." It's good to try and know yourself. Try to avoid the simple but mistaken idea that you already have a fixed idea of who you are. You're growing and changing everyday. Every day there are new possibilities. Try to be open to them and learn about yourself!
Don't be afraid to take chances. Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Don't be afraid to realize you made a mistake, apologize and correct course. Draw a line with confidence and then draw another. Trust your eyes, your hands, your head and your heart. Don't be afraid to lose or you may never win. Take your work seriously. Take yourself seriously. When you do that your "fun time" will be sweeter. Have dreams. Make plans. Make them happen. Take care of your own stuff. Solve your own problems. Think about the problems of others and help however you can. Live your life well.
There's an interesting article in the NYTimes OpEd page by David Brooks called "The Art of Growing Up." He talks about President A. Lincoln (in my opinion our greatest president ever) and how in his time "to achieve maturity was to succeed in the conquest of the self." That "human beings were born with sin (and) the transition to adulthood consisted of achieving mastery over them." Lincoln was the successful product of that philosophy. Brooks goes on to say how in the 20th century that idea changed. "Progressive educators emphasized students' inner goodness (not sin)... self discovery replaced self-mastery as the primary path to maturity." I see in there two philosophies. The pendulum swing - one extreme is replaced by another - from total self-mastery over natural depravity to total self-involved, inner searching. Seems to me that somewhere in between is the path. Discover yourself and then learn to focus these talents and be the best you can be. Good luck in English today.
Hope is an amazing and powerful thing! Think about it... where would you be without hope? "I hope I make this shot." "I hope I do well on this test." "I hope I can earn a B average." It's so important to feel hope in all that we do. Yes you have to work hard to try and make sure that your hopes come true, but without hope nothing is possible. Hope for a better future for the realization of our dreams is what makes living and working hard possible. Sometimes our goals seem so far away and out of our reach. Without hope we might give up. Yet it's exactly the time when there seems to be so little reason to have hope that hope is so important to have. Work and hope go hand in hand! I love you Theo.
Nobody does it on their own. All of us need the help and support of other people to achieve our goals. Lean on me. Lean on mom. Lean on Melissa. Lean on your teachers. Lean on your friends. Lean on your teammates. Lean on all those people around you who care for you and want to help. You will grow faster and stronger and everyone else will as well. We help ourselves when we help other people.
Attitude - when you say "attitude" you really mean a good attitude - a good outlook - an understanding of what's going on and an acceptance of what you've got to do to deal with it.
Concentration - once you accept what it takes to reach your goal, you have to focus on it and concentrate with all your ability.
Effort - once you've accepted and concentrated your focus - all that remains is 100% effort.
Am I talking about baseball? Sure I am. Am I talking about an English paper and a History test? Yes I am as well. A.C.E. applies to everything you tackle in life. I love you!
Success isn't accidental. You've heard that before I'm sure - maybe even from me! Success takes planning and hard work, dedication and commitment, but it starts with the most important element of all - a dream! Without a dream what is the planning and hard work about? What dreams do you carry in your breast? (Dreams aren't like birthday candle wishes - you can share them if you want and they can still come true.) Mom and I are happy to help any way we can, but you know, ultimately it's about you! I love you so much!
When I was growing up, there were times when I felt overwhelmed - that things were just too difficult to deal with. At times like that the easy, natural thing to want to do is to just forget about them, not do them, and just take the attitude that if I don't deal with the hard things they will some how just go away. I learned that doesn't work. Avoiding the hard stuff doesn't make it go away. The bad stuff hangs around getting worse instead of better until you decide to deal with it. It's not that you'll be able to solve perfectly every problem you face, but rather that nothing has a chance to be solved until you first decide to face it. Ignoring work, ignoring problems does not solve them. I know because I've tried too!
It's never over until we say it's over - ever hear that before? While it won't apply to all things in life, it does point out an important truth... things that we have control of can be accomplished as long as we have the will to keep trying, keep working. Because once we give up - then it's over. We each decide what's important to us - what we're willing to fight for - to work for. Be careful about giving up too soon just because something is hard. That's all - that and I love you!
Cooperation is key to success Theo. Cooperate with your teachers - your parents - your coaches - your friends.
Cooperate means working together, both people asking questions and solving problems. Teachers don't speak to an empty classroom - they try to engage every mind in the room. Parents don't talk to hear themselves talk either. We talk because we have something important to say and we want to be heard. Listen and respond to your teachers, to us. You will learn so much and be a happier person for that.