Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Pushers

We love that guy.  Actually, sometimes it's a woman. You know the one I mean.

The teacher.

The sensei.

The football coach.

Cheater.  Go back and watch those, or at least the last one.  I'll wait . . .

Who are those people?  The ones who get us to do more than we think we can do.

Yes, there are people who are self-starters, who have enough get up and go for themelves and you and I put together.  Those individuals generally become Olympic athletes, Nobel Prize-winning physicists, best-selling authors, and national leaders. The rest of us need a push.

It's not that we're lazy, exactly.  It's that no one ever pushed us beyond what we think our limits are.  We need someone who can see what we are capable of, and who will then help us accomplish it.

What do we think about those people who finally shove us out the door of our limits?  Ironically, we start off hating them. We want to play the sport, to be the one who scores the winning point, the one who goes the fastest, the highest, the strongest.  However, to do that, the coach makes us do crunchers, sprints, weights, in insufferable heat, and just when we're nearly out of gas, he makes us do it all over again.  But then, an amazing thing happens.  We discover we have the kick at the end of the race, the legs to make the run for the overtime goal, the steady hands that sink the freethrows - and we win the trophy.  THAT is the moment we grab the Gatorade and dump it all over the guy who made it happen.

Could I ask you, teenagers especially, to consider one of these people in your life, with whom you might be at odds?  Most of us have two kinds of parents - the "good" one, and the "bad" one.  The first one lets the child do more or less what he wants and tries to get along with the offspring.  The second is not nearly so accomodating.  He or she make strong demands and - shocking! - expects the child to carry them out.  They get angry, sometimes over insignificant matters.  If things are not done perfectly, they must be done all over again.

Sometimes this parent is the father, sometimes the mother.  It doesn't make any difference.  The point is why do they do this in the first place?  They do it because they want you to do your best, which is better than you think it is.  It is beyond your comfort level, outside your self-imposed "limits."  This parent - or whoever - also knows that doing your best brings immense personal satisfaction.

Maybe you don't need to pour ice cold sports drinks over them to show your appreciation for what they do for you.  But you could tone down your anger, your moodiness, your rebellion, and recognize their efforts for what they are - an attempt to make you the best you can be.