Winning Matters

Each month I write an article for a local magazine, Up In Cumming, and I always like to share them here, too.  Since Father’s Day is this weekend, I had men on my mind when I wrote this one.  Check it out:

Men love to win.

I know this first hand.  I watch my husband annihilate unsuspecting opponents on NCAA Football on his Playstation 3.  He takes great pleasure in it.  I literally think it relaxes him.  My son is no different.  He can’t wait to tell me how he won a foot race among his neighborhood friends, declaring himself the fastest of all.  Recently, he told me that he beat his friend Alyssa at arm wrestling. (Yes, I know.  Arm wrestling a girl was not his finest moment.) Of course, scoring a touchdown or a home run puts him on cloud nine, too.  Winning gives the men in my life a feeling of accomplishment, and yes, satisfaction.

Winning is important to most of us.  We all want to know we’ve done a good job or we’ve played a significant role.  Maybe that’s why some of us love sports so much.  In sports, the scoreboard keeps a visible record of things we do well.  The points are tallied, and the crowd cheers us on.  It’s also easy to pinpoint our mistakes.  Fumble the ball and the crowd will boo.  Strike out and your team suffers.  Things are pretty black and white when you’re on the ball field, but in our personal lives things aren’t quite as clear.  Without the luxury of a lighted scoreboard, we don’t feel the immediate gratification of a good choice.  Without a stadium full of fans, we aren’t encouraged after a hard hit.  And, we certainly don’t feel the satisfaction of a post-game interview when we get to relive the glory of our best plays.  In the ho-hum of our everyday schedules, we are often hard-pressed to see the “wins” in our lives.

Like when a dad tells his daughter he’s proud of who she is.  His words can penetrate deep into the recesses of her heart, shaping her view of herself.  That’s a touchdown.

Like when a man draws a line between work and home and learns to shut off the laptop and engage his family at night.  Building memories with our families is about so much more than sharing a few good laughs; it’s about relishing the people who know us best and love us most.  That’s a home run.

Like when a man takes time to teach his son responsibility and compassion.  His coaching will affect the way his son parents his own family one day.  Points go on the board with every lesson.

Or, like when a man displays integrity, even when it hurts. His willingness to lead well at work, on the ball field, or at home sets an example for all of us to follow.  It’s attractive.  It’s contagious.  It’s the stuff of champions.

It’s tempting to measure our success by our possessions or status, but the true measure of our success is in our everyday decisions.  My husband recently wrote a book, The Measure of Our Success, for pastors about this very topic.  Yet, all of us could learn from it.  All of us need to reconsider what winning really looks like.

This month we’ll celebrate Father’s Day, but I want us to celebrate more than just the fathers around us.  Let’s celebrate all the men in our lives.  Let’s be a verbal scoreboard for them. Celebrate who they are and the sacrifices they make for the ones they love.  Cheer them on when they fight a good fight and encourage them after a hard hit.

Winning matters.  More than you think.

 

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