Not that long ago, I read an article about having a family motto. This particular article recommended that the kids should be part of it, but eh, that’s was enlightened parents do. Me, not so much. I’d been using “Raws Finish Strong” as words in our house regularly. They hear it in their sleep probably.
As trite as it may be and as hooky as my kids think it is, I think this matters. It sets the tone for what is and is not acceptable. I hope that when it’s needed, it’s something they whisper to themselves when they are up to bat or about to swim a race, or take that standardized test.
Whatever you start, you finish, and you finish all in. I do not care if you are the best on the field, on the court, in the pool, or in the classroom. You will finish strong because that is what we do. And, on average I’d say my kids are mostly strong finishers. We don’t talk about being winners because that’s not always within our control. Maybe we win the game, the championship or first place in the meet. Or maybe not. The other team may be better, the other players may have better bats, the math be hard. The effort is what we control, and that is the focus.
Do we celebrate great report cards, a great win, or a spelling bee win? Sure. But we make sure to focus on the effort that got us the “A”, the “win”! “Great job, all those hours at the kitchen table with the math book paid off”, “the win must feel so good after all the time you spent on the diamond with your team”. “Wow, that time in the pool is helping!” Tying the victory to the effort is important to establish that link.
We also acknowledge that even if we didn’t win, get straight As, etc, that the effort is the important key. Bring me home a C that you worked your butt off for? Cool. Great job. Bring me a C that you didn’t try? We’re gonna be chatting about the effort. A game without hits? But you swung at strikes, worked hard in the field, and cheered your team? Cool. Love watching you play. Didn’t swing at strikes, blamed the ump? We’re going to talk. If you can’t look at me and say you did your best and “finished strong”, you didn’t meet the criteria (that day) for our family. And look, I get it. Our best every day isn’t the equivalent to yesterday’s best. Some days all we have to give is just not what we had last time. But you will finish strong because you are a Raw and you wear my name on your back.
Why do I say you wear my name on your back? Stay tuned, I’ll have another blog topic on that.