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The Gift of Adversity

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There’s nothing harder for a parent than to bear witness to a child’s disappointment.

Not being picked for the team, not making the grade or cut, or simply not having the natural ability to achieve in a way they’d like to, i.e. they’re clumsy, uncoordinated or have a learning disability.  It is SO incredibly tough to watch them take their punches.   As we all know, there is no ducking for cover in this life.

drew breesTime and again as my children approach middle and high school age, I’m faced with these daily victories and defeats.  I find myself getting sick to my stomach or cringing at the thought of them coming up short somehow, failing or God forbid getting hurt.  Whether it’s their feelings or their pride, or far too often their confidence that’s wounded, it pains me.  It truly pains me.

Then came my epiphany.  Of course it happened in the middle of the night when I could tell no one and have it be of use.  But the sun rose and so did my spirits when I realized, not getting “picked” could be the best thing to ever happen to my kids.

Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Michael Jordan’s trajectories were all altered by not getting picked and they all went on to become champions.  NBA great Michael Jordan didn’t even make his varsity high school basketball team his first try.  Green Bay Packer Aaron Rodgers went from being a potential top pick in the 2005 NFL draft only to fall to the 24th slot in what he describes as an embarrassingly long wait on live television.

Then there’s Drew Brees.   We all know what happened to the one time Charger quarterback who saw Phillip Rivers picked over him, after what could have been a career ending shoulder injury.  He won a Super Bowl for the New Orleans Saints in their 2009 season.  (We’re still waiting on Rivers.)

Coming up short lead Michael Jordan to badger his high school basketball coach to tutor him before and after school.  Drew Brees was motivated by his ousting in San Diego to come back stronger and better.  Aaron Rodgers wanted to prove his worth after being overlooked.   He just signed a record setting 5 year $110 million dollar contract extension in April.   I think he proved it.

Rodgers commented to a reporter about the contract:  “Good things come to those who wait.”  I say, they also come to those who hard to work to get them.

So the next time you see you child fail, fall to your knees and thank the cosmos.  It could be the launching pad that sends them flying.

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