When my boys were small, they were given a made-of-plastic basketball hoop for their birthday. At the time, the lowest notch was the perfect height for them to toss a little ball into. It seemed impossible that they’d ever grow big enough for the tallest level.
Welp. I just looked outside. My nearly 7 year old boys are shooting hoops (even making some of them) with the hoop as high as it will go.
My first thought? How did they get big enough for that?
My second? I truly admire that moxie.
(Fun Fact: my cat when I was a kid was named Moxie. That darn critter bit me nearly every single day. My mom used to tell me it was because he wanted to play. I just thought he was a jerk.)
You know, those boys could have left that hoop lower. They would have made more baskets, wouldn’t have had to chase so many wayward balls after they brick off the backboard, could have saved their arms a little from the effort of tossing the ball higher.
But they wanted it to be a challenge. They wanted to grow in their skills.
That’s grit. That’s character. I’m proud of them.
There have been times in my life when I’ve just wanted to keep things easy. Growing is hard work. Learning something new or taking it deeper is exhausting.
It ups the risk for failure.
That, my friends, is scary.
But, if we never go for it, we won’t get better. We won’t improve. We won’t grow.
I don’t know what it is for you. If it’s some art form or a different level of math (which takes true determination, if you ask me). Maybe you want to read a book that seems a little deep or thick or wordy (Moby Dick, anyone?). Maybe you want to learn a new skill or try a different sport. Whatever it is, you will grow – inch by inch – if you keep challenging yourself.
If you don’t, you might just stagnate. Grow bored. Give up.
This is a challenge to myself just as much as anyone else. In my writing, my family life, my physical activity (read: working out).
What is it for you? I’d love to hear what you’d like to grow in.