Thursday, November 1, 2007

Just Because You're Not Perfect Doesn't Mean You're Not Great


My children, with some justification, accuse me of recycling the same lines over and over. Ronda even wrote a blog about how she has now begun repeating those quotes to herself. There is method in my madness. I figure if I say something 26,000 times that perhaps it will stick with them.

I am not very 'mom-like', I have been told. Jimmy Pedro, Jr., the youngest world judo champion in America, always uses the line,

"Practice doesn't make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect."

I, on the other hand, the oldest world champion, have been known to tell my children,

"You know what happens when you practice like *** ? You **** ing lose! "

In my more socially-appropriate moments, I put it this way,

"The world really doesn't have a shortage of mediocre jerks that I have noticed, so maybe you should come up with a different career path."

or, when they complained that it was unfair that one of their sisters got to drive a car, stay out later, sleep in the morning or dump her broccoli down the garbage disposal, I would answer.

"Who said the world is fair? It's because I like her better than you."

As anyone who has been around us for more than fifteen minutes can readily attest, excellence is a minimal standard in our house, hard work is expected and whiners get no sympathy. Ronda cries for a week after placing second in the world judo championships. Maria is in tears every third day, convinced that she is 'never going to make it as a writer', despite the fact that she was NHJA's emerging journalist of the year last month, and typing her name in Google brings up hundreds of published articles. Not bad for someone who just turned 25.

In all of this, though, I realize that I need to listen to myself a little more and maybe sometimes start emulating one of my daughters.

One line I have used over and over is,
"Just because you're not perfect doesn't mean you're not great."

Failure isn't permanent and usually, by anyone else's standards, it isn't even failure. I tell this to my children all the time but lately it seems as if I have forgotten this lesson. On the way back from a conference in San Diego, I caught myself thinking, "I could get more work done if I just didn't have to eat."

Where did I get the idea that I had to get everything done perfectly all the time? I have papers to grade, lectures to write, two quarterly grant progress reports and a final report due, an article on information technology use to get published, an on-line course that is only half-written, a coach workshop to give tomorrow in Kalamazoo, and I am not even packed, three grant proposals to write, a judo resource CD to fix, an abstract due for a webcast next month and a plane to catch at 7 a.m. Oh, and I want to change jobs but I haven't really had time to look for work because I am swamped with work. I have been stressing about all of this when it dawned on me....

I don't have to be perfect. No one is calling up yelling at me to get any of this in. So what if I have 11 things due? If something gets finished a day or two later than I would have liked, the world as we know it won't end. Judo in this country won't stop because I don't get a brochure out on the USJA West Coast Training Center until next week instead of this week. As usual, the only person putting pressure on me is me. Too much of a sometimes good thing.

So, now it is time to listen to my daughter, Jennifer. She said,
"Mom, I'm 21. I'm smart. I'm pretty. If I have a college degree, a job, my own apartment in San Francisco, come home after work and watch classic movies, that's a good life. Not everyone has to be finding a cure for AIDS, winning the Olympics and bringing about world peace all in the same day. Just everyone in this family. All you people need to chill."

As she has announced many times, most notably when we got lost in the mountains and were passing the baby to one another across a gap many, many feet above ground,

"Next time all of you should listen to Jennifer."

--------- REQUIRED JUDO TIPS ----------------------------
1. When getting a grip, never, never, never reach forward with the same hand as the foot you have forward. That is, if your right foot is forward, grip with your left hand.
2. If someone is dumb enough to come in with their same foot and hand, foot sweep the person!
3. Most people have very bad foot techniques because they take a long time to learn correctly, so you can very often get away with violating rule #1, but it is a bad habit and you will get caught eventually.
4. Assignment for this month: Learn an effective move from when you are on top and the person has your leg trapped, either an armbar, or a move to get your leg free so the pin is good. That is such a common situation, you should work on being able to get a score from that position.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes please listen to Jenn... lolz