Proud of What?
A little different tilt to my message this week, but hopefully you can find something beneficial to take away from it.
Our son, Gabe, accepted a scholarship offer to Indiana University to play basketball this week. He’s been incredibly fortunate to be in this position and is grateful for the opportunity and the trust Indiana’s coaching staff has shown in him.
However, to say I’m proud of Gabe for this wouldn’t be accurate.
Prior to his announcement he wrote letters to me, his mom, and his sister. All were heartfelt and personal expressions of his appreciation for our investment in him, but a line in the letter to me stood out. He said, “Almost everything I do in life is in an effort to make you proud.”
I don’t think this is an uncommon feeling for kids. I know it’s not for me. I’m 45 years old and still want to make my dad proud. It’s one of the best things you can hear as a son or daughter - a parent sharing that simple encouragement: “I’m proud of you.”
However, it does raise an urgency in me to be sure he knows what I’m proud of him for.
Because, it’s not a scholarship to Indiana.
I’m proud of him for being faithful in his work ethic when the results weren’t there ... yet.
I’m proud of him for playing his last AAU season with a broken finger and his last high school season with a fracture in his ankle ... and never using it as an excuse to not perform.
I’m proud of him for prioritizing his team over his numbers.
I’m proud of him for being in the gym at 5:30am the morning after winning a state championship.
I’m proud of him for choosing to wear #0 in high school to honor one of our former players that didn’t have the opportunity to play in his last HS game.
I’m proud of his bench celebrations when he wasn’t big enough for his feet to reach the floor and his appreciation for those former players that did it the right way.
I’m proud of him for crying in the living room after a tournament while telling us that he was feeling pressure to perform and that he felt like he could never play well enough … and that he just wanted to be able to wear sweatpants to church again.
I’m proud of him for becoming intentional with his life ... finding his faith, core values, and his purpose - then measuring his success on his fulfillment of Selfless, Devoted, and Neoteny instead of society’s definition of success.
I’m proud of him for getting up at 5:30am in Las Vegas as 6th grader to go workout before his AAU games later that day ... while everyone else was sleeping.
I’m proud of him for going for it when he went to the North Coast Blue Chip tryouts - asking Bronny to play 1 on 1 during a water break, just to see how he measured up.
I’m proud of him for working out three times a day in preparation for the North Coast Blue Chip tryouts in 4th grade.
I’m proud of him for giving his lunch money to the kid in front of him in line that couldn’t afford their lunch at Cline Elementary.
I’m proud of him for standing by his dream of playing in the NBA when kids in his 3rd grade class laughed at him.
I’m proud of him for playing the game the right way.
It’s not the scholarship I’m proud of at all. It’s the process he’s embraced that makes me smile. I would be proud of him if he never took another dribble.
Basketball has served its purpose in his life.
He’s devoted. He knows the value of hard work and sacrifice.
He’s selfless. He prioritizes his team over anything personally.
He lives with neoteny. He smiles … a lot. There is child-like curiosity and joy he brings to the toughest challenges.
Gabe has trusted the process and surrendered the outcome.
I’m proud of the process, not the result.
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I'm a teacher, coach, and parent seeking excellence while defining success on my own terms.