In our last podcast, we used an example of muscle memory to draw a parallel to a life of faith. We said it takes preparation and practice for faith to be incorporated in our lives and it starts small.
I grew up in a house that went to church occasionally. It was always something my mom wanted, but we just weren’t able to implement it successfully. There were a few families I interacted with that seemed at the time to be instituting faith successfully. As I watched them over time though, it was apparent that it was not successful. I don’t want to push my kids to the point of revolt. I also don’t want to leave them to the world either. As is always our position, the truth is somewhere in the middle.
One key take away for me from that conversation was that faith is developed in retrospect and in the small quite times. In my personal journey, I have a period of time before bed that I dedicate to God. I pray and list three things I’m grateful for that day, and then read and contemplate my Bible. There are some things there that are universally beneficial there. For example, practicing gratitude. Many of us take our blessings for granted and so we lose our appreciation for God. If we do not appreciate Him, we will not put forth the effort to cultivate a relationship with him. This is very true in kids. Their experience is limited and have not spent time else where to see that kids don’t all have what they have. Because they have not comparison, they take it for granted. I put all of this together and decided that practicing gratitude is a behavior we need to cultivate.
We started off with asking our daughter to tell us three things that she was grateful for. It should have been easy, but again, with her limited scope of experience, it was difficult for her. I found myself getting frustrated, which is a good way to ruin a good thing. We decided to pull it back to just one thing. I mean she is six years old after all. It’s okay for her to start small. If she can just think of at least one thing to be grateful for every day, she is doing better than most of the population.
This seems like a super small thing to implement and I agree that it is. These are the small things that cumulate over time that add up to greatness. No one every makes it onto the ESPN Top 10 Highlights by making free throws, but players like Kobe Bryant famously shot 500 a day. It was the dedication to a small behavior that allowed him to him to make free throws when the game was on the line. Those seemingly inconsequential, small, unimportant consistencies become critical when pressure is applied. Life is going to put pressure on my daughters, and me, but if they have strong foundation from a life time of preparation and practicing the basics, they will be who the team wants on at the line in game 7. They will be the G.O.A.T. and that is my goal.