Thursday, May 27, 2010

Never Pass Up An InvitationTo A Destination Wedding

We just got back from a wonderful trip to Cabo San Lucas. Mark and I made the trek for a family wedding and I am so glad we went.  Our first thought upon receiving the "save the date" card was how are we gonna swing this, but we finally came to the conclusion that it was important to be with our family.  So, we packed our bags, left our kids with Grandma and Grandpa and flew off to the southernmost tip of the Baja Peninsula.  It was paradise.

I had several reservations about going not the least of which was leaving my kids for five days.  I know they are in competent hands with Grandma and Grandpa but it's still hard to say goodbye and fly several thousand miles away to a foreign country no less.  I also worried about the cost of our trip and other logistics, but none of that prevented us from getting on the plane. I really felt compelled to renew relationships with relatives that I rarely see.  An added bonus was getting to be with some of my favorite family members in one location.

We had lots of laughs and lots of Mango Margaritas. We reminisced about funny events in our past and predicted possible outcomes of our various futures.  We relaxed in the sun and took walks on the beach.  We witnessed two young people beginning their lives together.  And, we got to know each other even better.  I couldn't even begin to put a price tag on that kind of reunion.

Time is flying by at an alarming speed and years go by in the blink of any eye.  It's a shame I can't see my extended family more often but I will take as many opportunities as I can get from now on.  My first instinct won't be "I shouldn't" or "I couldn't."   I won't hesitate when I receive the next "save the date" card because I will remember how important it was for all of us to be together, regardless of time or place. 

We did put a bug in the ear of all of our younger, single relatives, however, that a destination wedding to a nice, warm beach location would be most appreciated.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Talent Code

I recently read a great book called The Talent Code based on a friend's recommendation.  What I loved most about the book was the basic premise that all of us can achieve excellence if we practice our craft.  Whether it be music, sports, or basket-weaving, we all have the ability to become great at any given skill through repetitive practice. 

OK, so the book goes into much more detail about how the physiological aspects of our brain operate.  I'm in no position to try and summarize that here, but the mind-blowing thing about each and every case study was that it didn't matter if you were smarter, richer or better-looking than the next guy or girl.  Each one of the talented people outlined in the book came from different backgrounds.  Different countries.  Different centuries.  But the common characteristics in all of them were similar methods of training, motivation, and coaching.  To get really good at something you need to practice.  Not just practice once in awhile or every other week.  Practice daily.  Practice with passion.  You need to be motivated and care about the outcome.  You need to want to become more proficient.  And, you need a good coach, teacher or mentor.

Practice makes perfect.  How many times have you heard that?  We hear it so often because it's true.  We can't get good at something if we don't hone the skill, learn from our mistakes and keep practicing.  Nicholas and Christopher amaze me with their piano skills at such a young age.  But, they have a great piano teacher and they practice often (their Dad makes sure of that!).  Nicholas has been practicing for four years.  He has a lot to learn, but he sees the older kids in other classes who play so well and so confidently and he knows that one day that will be him.  For now, he is honing his skill.  He is getting frustrated and he knows that it's hard work but he's willing to put in the time because he knows he will only get better if he practices. 

Nicholas also likes to play baseball.  He asked me other day if I thought he would be a good pitcher and I said he could be good at anything he puts his mind to.  When I asked him what the essential element was to being a good pitcher he cocked his head to the side as if to contemplate this deeply philosophical question and said, "oh yeah, I know, practice!"  If Nicholas wants to be a pitcher, he needs to practice. Christopher is riding his bike without training wheels.  How did he manage that?  Practice.

My boys get irritated sometimes when I tell them that they can do whatever they want as long as they put in the time to perfect their skill.  The irritation comes from realizing that it takes work on their part.  Even if I had a magic wand that would instantly make them competent at any given ability I wouldn't use it.  Their greatest achievements will be those they have to work hard for.  By themselves.  Mustering  their own resolve.  Nothing good ever comes easy.  It usually involves a lot guessed it...practice.


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