Don’t set your standards bar low

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My tenure as a writer nearly was ended once my mother returned from a recent out-of-town trip and read my article. I assured her that a ghostwriter must have hacked into my computer and submitted the infamous article.  I informed mom that my intentions were not to paint a negative picture of her, but to share with the readers how she modeled humbleness and accountability.

There was a scene in the film Jaws when the crew was below deck, sitting around the table comparing scars. One member would pull up a shirtsleeve and explain how he got his scar. Another would pull up his pants leg, point to the scar and explain how it occurred. Each scar was a source of pride for the character. It marked a period of struggle and subsequent victory. 

I am of the opinion the same can be said of our lives’ experiences. What is it to go through if once we come through, we don’t turn around and help someone else survive the struggle? I marvel that with so many people in the world, there are times that we can believe that we are all alone and that no one else could possible understand what we are going through. It is really sad the way we can project false strength, or the way that false image can cause others to feel weaker than they really are.

Jesus told Peter, “I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren.”  The Bible goes on to say, “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?

I am convinced that sometimes that need just might be a shared scar. Lovingly applied, it may give an individual enough encouragement to know that they can endure and persevere.

Recently my son asked me if I ever did poorly in school. I assumed that he had been talking to his mother, so I reluctantly came clean. 

“Sure, there were times that I struggled. I didn’t make all A’s and smiley faces. That ‘s why I try to make sure that we stay on top of you academically.” 

He nodded his head, so I pressed forward. 

“One person’s struggle isn’t an excuse for failure. It only means that it gives me a base to better understand when I witness someone else struggling. The standards don’t change. The high standards are what we aspire to.”

I am reminded of the words of Harlan Howard about a father and a son.

“A careful man I want to be a little youngster follows me,

I do not dare to go astray in fear he might go that same way,

I cannot once escape his eyes and what he sees me do he tries

Like me he says he wants to be that little boy who follows me

Now he thinks that I’m so big and fine he believes every single word of mine Lord the bad in me please don’t let him see

I wish that I could much stronger be

I must remember as I go through summer’s sun and winter’s snow

I’m molding for eternity that little boy who follows me

Yes I’m molding for eternity that little boy that follows me.”

 

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