Words of Hope: The Highest Goals

My Dad was incredibly pragmatic. He was a genius at making complex concepts simple and easy to understand. Dad believed the clearer you are in what you want, the better chance you have of getting what you need. First, you must identify your big goal. If your goal is to be a great basketball player, you must be a good shooter. He took the mechanics of shooting a basketball and broke them into simple steps that anyone can do. He had psychological and spiritual wisdom. Dad understood the tools needed for the outcome. Shooting steps are tools to help you shoot accurately. The purpose of the steps should be to increase shooting percentage and overall skills in the game. Dad worked hard to ensure the tools didn’t obscure the goal of becoming a better player. If your shooting drill does not improve shooting, it is a wasted drill.

Dad had a primary life goal– love God and love people. What are the tools necessary for love? Listening, empathy, quality time, delight, gratitude, loving communication, forgiveness—how am I doing with these tools? What are the ways we damage or destroy love? Ego, bitterness, selfishness, distraction, worry, control, lack of listening, blame— and ways we may not even realize. Coaches and teachers can often pick the wrong goal at camp. The goal is not beautiful shooting form- though this is part of the vision, it is only a tool. A player can have perfect shooting form and miss every shot. This mistake of selecting the wrong goal plays out in homes and schools. For example, the goal should be a love of learning, but instead, a school will pick a goal of good behavior. Good behavior is only part of the vision, love of learning is primary. If good behavior is the highest goal, teaching looks very different than if love for learning is the highest goal. I can get a classroom to have good behavior, but the kids might be miserable and not learn anything. I can get kids to learn something, but there is no love. Love of learning requires the very highest level of teaching because it is an outcome goal, not a controlled goal. Love of learning is something that requires a partnership with the student and with the teacher. Love is mutual and demands all we are. Control is one-sided and convenient. Dad understood this and worked hard to be committed to the highest goals with the best tools.

“Let love be your highest goal.” – 1 Corinthians 14:1