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ALMOST BUT NOT QUITE

By Lucie Lewis, Co-Facilitator Central Team

      Who could hear the cartoon character Charlie Brown groan and not feel for the guy? Poor Charlie always gave 100%, but it was never quite enough. How many times have you watched Lucy pull that football out from under him just as he raised his leg to kick, sure he was about to nail it.. But, then ….(wait for the mournful sigh) “AAAAAUUUUUUUGH!’” Failure again. Poor Charlie. Do we feel for him or do we see ourselves in him because we know that endless, deep, aching feeling of almost but not quite? It doesn’t matter what the football in your life looks like. It could be getting back a test you really studied for only to see that grade that screams at you, checking the board to see if you made the team only to find your name not there, turning in a project you poured your heart into to have it not be quite good enough to be displayed in the fair, or winning second place in the championship game. No one seems to notice that you tried, only that you didn’t quite make the grade.

      I remember a time when effort was valued as an important part of the journey to achievement. It was a behavior worth both noticing and rewarding. It was called ENCOURAGEMENT – nurturing the potential while it was blossoming, not only once it had bloomed. I heard a news analyst comment the other day that we live in a microwave society looking for the instant win. Failure is no longer an option and there is no patience for the yeast to rise or the stew to simmer until it is just right. Years ago, my Godmother made her own bread. I loved walking into her kitchen while the dough was rising to smell the air and watch as the ball gradually grew bigger. The bread was scrumptious more because the anticipation of waiting made my mouth water for days. The joy was in the journey. The road of accomplishment is built by degrees with patience and deliberateness. Its bricks are the little wins, mistakes, setbacks and failures that teach the lessons and make us stretch. Ask yourself, am I a good student because I get good grades or because I am committed to my studies and strive for excellence or am I a good athlete because I win or because I play with conviction and dedication.

      I often wonder if this craving for our ten minutes of fame has grown from our crushing sense of almost but not quite. As parents, educators, mentors and leaders, we must remember that the good grade, the medal and the museum-quality project are work product; but the journey to achieve them is the foundation of growth and learning and it is the journey that we must applaud and nurture. 

      The mission of Step Up Springfield is to help you become the best you can be and to be ready for life. Remember, we can stand behind you, but you must stand up for yourself first. For more information on learning to believe in yourself, contact Step Up Springfield at (413) 693-0228.

Peanuts Wiki. Charlie Brown. Wikia Entertainment, Characters, ¶17. Retrieved on March 12, 2009 from http://peanuts.wikia.com/wiki/Charlie_Brown

As published in the May 2009 edition of Afro Am Point Of View retrieved from: http://www.afampointofview.com/POV%20Archives/2009/May09/Almost%20But%20Not%20Quite.htm