I write a lot of letters to my family. My book (“Can Openers: Essays on Life and Love”) is a result of those letters. I wanted to collect all of my letters, and all of my writings, in one place. I used my first book to do that.
I always write a letter to my wife and my daughters at transition times. For my daughters, those transitions included:
1) First day of kindergarten, and last day of elementary school
2) First day of middle school, and last day of middle school
3) First day of high school, and graduating high school
4) Passing their drivers license test
5) Starting college, and graduating college
My older daughter is starting her first full time job this week. That is a big transition, so I wrote her a letter. One of the things that most of my transition letters included were some thoughts about “Keep Your Eye On The Ball”.
“Keep Your Eye On The Ball” means a lot of things in our house. I wrote about this in a previous blog, entitled “Who’s Your Tribe?” What it means is….what is the most important thing in your life? That is a really important question, so I am going to pause, and ask that question again.
What is the most important thing in your life?
I know a couple of people who have life-threatening diseases. They are fighting for their lives right now. I know that if I ask them what the most important thing is in their lives, they would say “beating this disease”.
The other thing I know is that they act consistently with their answer. They have treatments, and appointments, and medication, and therapy- and they show up for all of it.
They know what the most important thing is in their lives, and they act like it.
When I asked my daughters to “keep your eye on the ball” in my transition letters, I was asking them to focus on what they were doing. I wanted them to obtain a great education, and I thought that if they kept their eyes on the ball (their education), they would obtain a great education. I think I was right.
As my daughters go out into the world, they are going to have to decide what the most important thing is in their lives. That isn’t a decision I can make for them, and it isn’t a decision I want to make for them, either. I would make the wrong decisions for them, because their hopes and dreams are different than mine.
I don’t want them to have the same answer to “What is the most important thing in your life” as I do. What I want is that they know what the most important thing is in their lives, and that they act consistently with that answer.
I know that you don’t want a homework assignment right now, but I am assigning a homework assignment. I want you to answer two questions:
1) What is the most important thing in your life?
2) Are your actions consistent with your answer in number 1?