I’ve been thinking a lot about the word “try”. Small word, only three letters. But it has a lot of meaning to me and I think, overall, it is under-rated.
Of course, like many words, if you don’t mean it, it becomes rather frustrating. Try. “I will try to get that done for you” could just as easily mean “The chances of that getting done are as good as a snowball in Hell, but hey, if I say 'I’ll try', at least you’ll get off my back”.
We have always asked our children to Try. “I know you don’t like mushrooms Second Born Son, but Try one this time and see if you have changed your mind.”
It came into dinner conversation during a meaningful exchange about the caliber of an athlete on First Born Son’s baseball team. He was being rather harsh and I felt it was time to rein him in and see the child from a different perspective.
“Actually I think Johnny is doing ok,” I said, much to the dismay of FBS. “At least he is trying.” This was met with much scoffing and eye rolling and who knows what else as I cleared the table.
I had the perfect opportunity to prove my point a mere 72 hours later. FBS was not putting his all into his effort. He kicked at the dirt, he swayed in the breeze. He goofed off and wasn’t being overly attentive when given instruction by his coach. He did have moments of promise, a couple of hits, so he wasn’t a complete waste of a position. But he was not up to his regular standard, though I could tell in his mind he felt he was.
As we left the game (where our butts were not just handed to us, but gift wrapped as well) he asked me how I thought he did. And I told him the truth.
And he did not like it.
“I did better than Johnny did,” he retorted. “At least Johnny tried,” I finished.
Johnny is never going to be a great player. He’s there purely for the social aspect. I think his parents feel it’s a great way for him to get out with his friends, who, for the most part, are fairly athletic. For FBS to compare himself to Johnny wasn’t just unfair to Johnny, it was selling himself short as well. I explained to FBS that if he tried, he would do much better. Johnny tries every time he’s on the field and his efforts don’t go unnoticed.
Before you start thinking that I’m the A+ Mom, please know that I don’t believe in perfection. What I feel is my 100% may not be your 100%. I do know that each of us comes with our own level of skills and ability. We have potential that even we are not fully aware of. If I can teach my sons nothing else, then I want them to know that they will find a level of success as long as they Try.
We all know people who float through life. They are caught in their vacuum of security and insulated by fear. Others rest on their laurels, failing to challenge themselves or inspire others.
“Try” is what gets you through the hard times. “Try” is what created the wheel, it’s what heals broken hearts and what ends wars.
I will Try to be a better mother tomorrow than what I am today. I will Try to have the balance I need to have a happy family. I will try to be the best mother/wife/daughter/sister/friend/coach I can be. I will try to vacuum this week….
Saying it is the first part. It’s the doing that will make that three-letter word the most important one in my vocabulary.