Processing Achievement

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The box is full of ribbons. There are far more blue ribbons than red. And more red than white. Even more telling, the ribbons frequently have a "Personal Best" stamp on the back. Judging by these mementos, he won more often than not and was consistently improving. So why didn't he enjoy swim meets?

Because he is an achiever.

This is why he much prefers practice.

Personal Best

Achievement is a strange thing. The minute you get there, you realize you must get farther the next time. Even reaching this point again isn't really good enough. If you've been winning, you need to keep that up. And yet, for all the pressure and fear associated with stepping up to the starting blocks, you have to keep competing. If you don't win something new or improve your performance, what are you doing each day?

And so he swims again and sets the bar a little higher.

I hated grades in high school. When you start at the top, the only direction you can move is down. I didn't understand when my friends told me not to worry about my second place finish. 'I'm not worried,' I'd think. 'I just failed to do as good as last time.'

To this day I have an odd uneasiness about achievement. I feel a need to achieve. That's why days like today, where I don't have anything new or interesting or terribly important to share with you, remind me of standing on the pool deck at a swim meet. I'd prefer to blog about the daily grind, but I can't. I feel the need to share the blue ribbons, the victories, the "important" stuff. Of course, the moment after I've told you about some cool new thing, I get a little nervous: What could I possibly give you tomorrow? I can't build you something like the Virtual Booth every day.

I have difficulty processing achievement. But the process of achievement, far more than the ribbons in my box, is what matters. I think Kimberly said it best: Life is about the process. Check out what she has to say. Then join me as I thank God for the process He is taking us on and the achievements He gives us along the way.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester

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  1. The Reader

    This is so very true. Someone asked recently if the kids were ahead or behind grade level on things like math, reading, etc. I replied that I have some of each -- and more importantly, they've all flip-flopped a bit over the years. The end result we hope for, of course, is an adult able to face the world. The milestones and achievements along the way? Those really aren't the bits that matter. A student who learns how to learn, who understands the process, that's the point (at least for me).

    Excellent post, Luke. But do share the daily grind with us, too. It's encouraging to read about others' and how they tackle that daily grind. How they manage the process. I'd be interested in reading such posts, and surely I'm not the only one.

  2. Luke

    Thanks, Reader. "It's encouraging to read about others' and how they tackle that daily grind." I agree. I'll keep thinking about how to make my day of wrestling with code applicable to a homeschool blog <smile>. You make an excellent point.