Try Something You Aren’t Great At

My parents were big picture people. I would classify their leadership style as transformation in focus. They wanted to show us the way to become outstanding through our consistent efforts and God’s graces. They wanted us to be involved in activities. Many of them were low cost or no-cost. There is always a way to be involved without it costing a fortune. One thing they stressed was that “we don’t quit”. If we joined a team, or the scouts, or an activity we had to stick with it for the season or the school year or whatever. That was essential for building our work ethic. They were not about to let us quit because “it wasn’t fun” or “the coach didn’t like us” or “we weren’t getting our fair share of playing time”. They said–you want more playing time? work harder. Coach not being nice? deal with it and do what you can to fix it. Doing worse at something than the rest of the group or team? Practice and do your best. Learn…

They knew that being engaged and involved with activities was good for us (within reason). A wise thing they did was they insisted we do at least one activity a year in an area that we WEREN’T great at…something that would be a struggle and at best we might be just ok at. They thought (correctly) that would help us become more compassionate and humble. It is tempting to just be involved with activities you excel at. But trying other areas gives you balance. It lets you know what it is like to struggle mightily with minuscule results. It let’s you know that you aren’t necessarily the greatest thing since sliced bread. That is a good thing. It let’s you know the world isn’t going to worship the ground you walk on…..and it gives you a sense of humor about yourself.

When I went to camp the campers were required to participate in all the activities each day: swim lessons (my fave—excellent swimmer); craft barn (making popsicle stick houses and lanyards out of vinyl strips); archery range; canoeing; and rifle range (probably BB guns). After the first day I went to the camp director and tried to negotiate. I wanted OUT of craft barn. I was TERRIBLE at lanyards—they looked dreadful–lumpy, icky….I also wanted out of the rifle range. I tried to convince him I needed extra swim lessons instead. Unfortunately, my case held no water—as I had tested into senior lifesaving class…He laughed at me and said perhaps I would like 2 craft barns and zero swimming. I ran back to the craft barn and FAST!!!

Now, I’d love to be able to tell you I had a break-through at camp and became an avid lanyard maker. (Nope)… Or that I became the next Annie Oakley. I did not. As a matter of fact, I used the same target every day all week. I never hit it once….It makes me laugh until this day to think about it….. My canoeing skills—well that is a story for another post.

My archery skills—well, I was a tiny thing…I was 4’9″ at the time and weighed less than 60 pounds soaking wet. But if I could pull the arrow back firmly enough and release it correctly, I did hit THAT target every time.

Why do I tell you all this? Over the years I have been involved with many different activities. Some I did well, some I did horribly. Guess what? I got just as much joy out of it either way. as a matter of fact, if I leap into some new activity and really horse it up—-it gives me a great laugh. It let’s me know;  I’m still here, good at some things—and laughably bad at others. I am glad my folks insisted we do that. It helped us become people who can laugh at ourselves.


About Kate Kresse

I love to write, I love to talk, I love to uplift people when I can. I am a woman in love with life. I am a wife, mom, tutor, writer, and I am a perennial optimist. (OK not every single minute but you get the point! :-)
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25 Responses to Try Something You Aren’t Great At

  1. mlissabeth says:

    I have a very important decision to make, and this gives me an extra perspective. Thanks for the advice.

  2. fgassette says:

    What an inspirational post. Thank you for sharing your many excellent points.


  3. Caddo Veil says:

    Kate, this is Excellent–what a great role model you are, for your kids, and the rest of us!! Thanks–God bless you abundantly.

  4. Again my sweet friend you have done it again. Your beloved parents so knew the right paths to guide you and your siblings (2 brothers?) You were all so truly blessed.

    Teaching our children that to take a risk is maybe the healthiest choice we could make. Despite the foreseen out come or not; its in the doing something new that is the real teacher. The real growth that comes from those risks are what really moves us forward.

  5. Inspirational – thank you.

  6. tbnranch says:

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful and inspirational piece. 🙂

  7. Debbie says:

    Wise folks, yours!
    As life has taken some unexpected turns, I find myself forced (not as willing of a student as you) to do things I’m not good at. Sometimes it goes fairly well. Sometimes, not so much! 😉 but all the time, I’m learning.

    • Kate Kresse says:

      Amen to that, Necessity is the mother of invention. We continue to learn and grow and adapt….and, like you sometimes I learn well other times~ crash and burn!

  8. I work in a university and unfortunately encounter students who will only take courses or major in areas where they absolutely already know they excel. They won’t take chances. It’s more than likely due to the extremes of competition, but it is a loss to each one. Your parents were very wise! Debra

    • Kate Kresse says:

      Oh gosh~times have changed! We had to take 2 years of core requirements across a broad spectrum of courses before we were permitted to declare majors. This exposed us to all kinds of courses! Yes, my parents were wise and amazing. I was so blessed.

  9. Our kids’ universities required the core classes, major or not, just to keep the college afloat. No prob.
    BUT–wouldn’t you know–lightweight archery pro’s we both were. Ha! 🙂

    • Kate Kresse says:

      Yeh—it was hard to pull that bow string back strongly enough…btw, i answered this comment on my comments page a day or two ago, but it didn’t show up here.

      • Oh, I’ve been finding all sorts of evidence that things are not all going well in the e-world. Wouldn’t you know it, just when they got us all hooked! I’ve been getting replies from OTHER sites, in my inbox, as if they were mine. And for several days, when I replied to a comment, it showed up in my inbox as if someone else had commented. TWICE! I had to go through and deleate my own comments from my inbox, by the double handful! I find that enough folks complain to the help service, that it gets corrected quite soon, though. If you are interested, the address is:
        Hope it’s working for you, if you decide to report something. 😉

        • Kate Kresse says:

          That is VERY bizarre. thanks for the link—i will send them an email, too. thanks, too for the HSDLA link and the list of sponsors. Do have some Post cereals, Scrubbing bubbles and I think at least one SC Johnson product. Won’t be buying those again! Of course the liberals will say thay we want to hinder their freedom of speech/expression. . . . . Bring back Leave it to Beaver and Ozzie and Harriet, please!! love you~kate

  10. Oh, and supposedly, we are being bombarded with magnetic rays from the sun, today. I’m not sure I believe that.

    • Kate Kresse says:

      If my silverware starts sticking to my head we will know it’s true 😉

      • But if everyone believes it’s true, doesn’t that make it fact? I mean, I saw a gorgeous picture of the sun, close up, on the web today. Doesn’t that mean we’re being bombarded with cosmic dust or something? And then that would explain why a third of my internet usage for this month is used up in just 4 days, right?

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