MY TWO CENTS:
We are in an interesting stage of life…our oldest has graduated from high school and will be heading off to college in a few weeks. This stage and the resultant emotions, celebrations, irritations, obstacles, excitement, and uncertainty are not a surprise as we’ve known they were coming for 18+ years. Even still…we are learning a lot!!
One such lesson came just over four weeks ago and has been rattling around in my head since we experienced it. Allow me to provide a little back-story for you before I share the lesson.
Our son has been dreaming about playing baseball beyond his high school career pretty much as soon as he started playing the game. He’s spent countless hours in training sessions for batting and pitching, and has been on numerous teams with myriad coaches pouring into him as he pursues his dream. While we (admittedly with some bias) think he’s a pretty good ball player, we fully acknowledge that he’s not yet a top MLB draft pick or Division 1 College World Series-ready player.
Academics have been a high priority in our home since our kids have started school. He’s taken that part seriously, too, and worked hard to have very good grades with the intent of studying Mechanical Engineering in college. While there are solid engineering programs in smaller schools, the most well known programs are in bigger schools with Division 1 athletic programs. And, therein, was his challenge: finding an academic program that was a fit for his goals that also had a baseball program for which he was a fit.
Shortly before the end of high school, Matthew received a wonderful offer from a very good engineering school to be a part of their baseball team. I couldn’t have been happier for him since this meant he had the opportunity to take the next step on his journey with all of his priorities being addressed. He, too, was glad, but wasn’t ready to fully commit himself to this school. So…we waited while he considered his decision. And…we waited some more. And…some more still. Sigh…
Fast-forward to about four weeks ago when my wife (a logistical ninja that loves to get a jump on planning, preparing, and nailing down details) and I were starting to get more than a little antsy at his hesitance to make a decision. Earlier in the week he had received answers to his questions from the coach and had no further “missing information” for him to finalize the decision. So, on Thursday, we asked him to make his decision before the end of the weekend so we could be alongside him with whatever direction he chose.
Driving home from a baseball tournament that same Saturday evening, I simply asked if he’d heard from the college baseball coach. He said he had, and I followed up by asking what other information he needed to make a decision.
Matthew replied, “Nothing, I guess.”
I then asked, “OK. What are you waiting for, then? Do you know that this is the school for you?”
He said, “I guess all that is left is for me to say ‘Yes’ then.”
*** Here’s the lesson ***
After further conversation, we came to realize that Matthew knew from the moment he received the offer that this school was the right fit for him. He had effectively made his decision but hadn’t said “Yes!” for nearly eight weeks. There were many conversations, much ambiguity, and more stress than necessary during that time.
This got me thinking about the number of times we all know the answer to our big decision, but haven’t yet said yes. Sometimes our delay is legitimate in that we need additional information or the timing isn’t quite right due to extenuating circumstances. Sometimes, though, it boils down to knowing that the next step in our journey requires commitment. To step into that next level of commitment means that we have to have the wisdom to acknowledge the choice is right, be able to muster the courage to say yes, and then develop the perseverance to see it through to our desired result.
Kris and I wouldn’t trade this stage of life for anything. It certainly has come with it’s share of lessons. I just hope that the lesson about which we were recently reminded to move forward by saying yes instead of wallowing in our “I knows” will stick with me when the next big decision is presented.
How about you? Are there any areas of life in which you’re feeling the nudge to say yes? Or, is there a bit of “knowing” that’s almost there that leads you to the opportunity to move directly into that “Yes” commitment? Please share your thoughts with us, as this journey has so many lessons we could all experience the benefit!
Make it a great week!!
Scott Cousino, CFP®, CEPA®