Take One For the Team

John Croyle familyWhat’s your family’s plan?

by John Croyle

What if you decided that for Spring Break you were just going to jump in the car and start driving with no destination in mind? No clothes packed. No reservations made. No activities planned. Just fly by the seat of your pants. What kind of vacation do you think your family would end up having?

Why do we plan our vacations better than we plan our family’s future?

Every one of us, whether it be in business, education, personal, or whatever our daily jobs might be, have the responsibility to set goals for the company, school, or home. Not one of the successful people I have ever met said, “Oh well, let’s don’t plan what we want or need to do. It will just work itself out.”

With that mindset before us, let me ask you a question: What are your plans and/or goals for your family’s positive growth this year or for changes that you know are necessary?

Anyone, even a complete stranger, can point out what is wrong with your family and offer no remedy or at best a poor solution. As the parent of your family, you know 99 percent of the time what the problems really are, but too often we are afraid to address them—or worse, we pretend those problems don’t exist. It’s so easy to turn a blind eye to things that are happening and mistakes that are being made and just hope things work out.

Real courage is recognizing what’s wrong and then preparing and executing a plan to fix the problem. Most of the time, finding a solution is not as difficult as we make it out to be. Yes, there are those times when everything does seem to “blow up,” but, for the most part, if you face a problem head-on, you are going to find a true and lasting solution. Making a plan is simply knowing where you want to go and then, with tenacious focus, going after it. Sometimes we must make adjustments to the plan along the way, but the goal remains unchanged.

Personally, I have seen this tenaciousness up close at a young age when I was a freshman at the University of Alabama. We had our first preseason meeting with Coach Bear Bryant, and I was expecting the most inspiring motivational preseason talk ever. What we got was a simple statement that really defined the next four years of our lives.

In his deep, gruff voice, Coach Bryant said, “We think you are the best athletes in the country. Now join us and let’s win the national championship.” This statement was the bedrock of everything we did every day for the next four years.

Many adjustments were made over the countless hours of practice and games we played, but the foundation of our goals and what we were in the end never wavered. It was tough and even grueling at times, but we knew if we did not keep our eyes on the goal, we were going to pay the price of losing the game and disappointing Coach Bryant.

In all of the years of playing football, I learned this truth: What you expect is what you normally get. If you expect to be a second-team player, that’s probably what you’re going to be.  Even if you have the skills and gifts to be a first-team starter, there is so much more to it than just raw ability. That’s why you have to begin with the end in mind. Decide what you are going to be, and then do it!

Do you think Coach Bryant recruited one of us expecting that we were going to be a second team player? He believed in us, had confidence in us, and knew that we could be the best in the nation if we knew we could be the best in the nation.

What do you expect of your children?  Better yet, what do your children think you expect of them?

We must be careful not to set low standards for ourselves and our children because chances are, that’s exactly what we will get. Set the bar high. Make sure you have a plan to get where you want to be, and remember that as a parent you are setting the tone for your family. Have the confidence in yourself and your children that any good coach has in his or her team.

What is your bedrock this year? It is never too late to set your goals to win for your family and for their families when they are grown. Decide where you want your family to be at the end of 2014, make a plan of how to get there, and go do it! Your “team” is counting on you.

For more information on strengthening the foundation of your family, visit bigoak.org/familybuilders.

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