Changes, Challenges, and Choices

Happy Friday, RISERS! I hope this week has been good to you. It doesn’t seem possible that we are almost to the middle of August already. Next comes the beginning of high school and college football games, falling leaves, and cooler weather. Be intentional this week, and choose to find the fun in whatever you are doing. As Mary Poppins says, “Find the element of fun and the job is halfway done.” Whatever you must do, make it enjoyable!

Quote of the week: “Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of someone else.” —Judy Garland

Book of the week: This week, I’d like to recommend a book I read when I wanted to learn to be a more successful leader. It’s called The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews and tells about a man who goes on a mysterious journey to encounter seven historical figures throughout time. Each person gives him a concept of success to choose—or not to choose—to live by. One of the concepts is “the buck stops here.” I won’t spoil it for you, as I think it will challenge you to think about where you are heading in life.

Joke of the week: Why was the equal sign so humble? Because it wasn’t greater than or less than anyone else.

Nugget of Wisdom for the week: I want to talk this week about something really important. I read it in a book but can’t remember the title, so I will mention it here as a nugget of wisdom. While I think there is some truth to having a growth mindset—meaning that you can push further past what you think you can learn—some things cannot be changed. Everyone is created with a certain “bag” of personal traits/characteristics, abilities, etc. If you have the bent to be a dancer, you probably wouldn’t be happy trying to be an architect. If you are an artist, then working as an engineer may prove too stressful.

This is a vital truth for both children and parents to understand. As a parent, I must be very careful to not push my own desires for my children (what I think they should be, or do, or even like) if that is not how they are designed. It causes unreal expectations and can lead to a world of hurt and resentment.

As a young person, you need to evaluate your situation and make sure you are not trying to stuff yourself into a straight-A-student mold if you are working your hardest and earning Bs and Cs. My husband and I always tell our children, “We don’t expect straight As if Cs are what you can earn when doing your best work.” In other words, challenge yourself—but realize at an early age what your limitations are, and work with that. If you procrastinate, make a schedule to help you get things done in a more timely manner. If you feel overwhelmed with the tasks you have, make a list and prioritize them. What you do in these early years helps you create a system for dealing with challenges as you get older. I believe in you!

Have a great week. Remember, you are most awesome and YOU ROCK!

Marion Rhines is a foster-turned-adoptive parent. She lives in Knoxville, Tenn., with her husband and five children. She has written and published two children’s books as well as two foster-care-themed novels. She has a Facebook blog, Tips from the FLIP Side, and enjoys working with children of all ages.

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