“We don’t just do what’s easy; we do what’s right.”
Happy December, everyone. Thank you for reading today! This week I sat down to think about what I was going to write about, and I was stuck. I couldn’t think of anything to write about for the better part of an hour. This is what they call “writer’s block,” and I experienced it today, as I often do. When this happens to me, I usually remind myself of the week’s core value and just say it to myself repeatedly. I started saying to myself, “Do the right thing, do the right thing, do the right thing.”
After saying it about 50 times, a name came to mind, and I said it out loud instinctively. It went sort of like this, “Do the right thing, do the right thing, do the right thing, Bianca.” Why would the name Bianca come to my mind as I was saying this out loud to myself? Well, maybe because I had just been thinking to myself earlier this week that Bianca is someone I am very impressed with. The reason I am impressed with her is because she has inspired me with her commitment.
By the way, the Bianca I am talking about is my oldest daughter. She is a senior this year at Grand Valley State University and will receive her nursing degree in April. She has always been a great student and a hard worker, but it was something else that really moved me about her last weekend. That something was her swim career.
Bianca is a competitive swimmer and has been for 14 years. For the last four years, she has swam for her university on a scholarship and has been elected a team captain this year. Thursday through Saturday last week, I was able to travel to a major swim competition that her team was a part of and watch her swim.
I have watched her practices and swim meets hundreds of times over the last 14 years, but this time felt different. I have learned a lot about commitment from Bianca over the last 14 years, and I am proud of her. I have also felt bad for her many times because of the sacrifices she has made. There have been many weekends, parties, spring breaks, family vacations, and numerous other activities that she has had to sacrifice along the way.
She also had to figure out how to be a good student and be part of an accelerated nursing program over the last four years as well, on top of the six to nine practices a week she needs to attend and a part-time job. All that makes me tired just thinking about it. Like I said, I am very proud of her.
You may be thinking at this point that I am bragging or looking for sympathy for my daughter. Of course, as her dad, I am bragging a little, but that is not the point here. The point is that my daughter made a commitment 14 years ago and stuck with it. That’s what this is all about. It was not easy, but of course she didn’t make a 14-year commitment at seven years old. That is not how this works.
At seven years old, she made a commitment for one season, which was only three months and then another three months later on. Then, as she got older, the commitment became six months and then one-year increments. These commitments needed to be made over and over again, and here we are 14 years later. It has been very impressive and inspiring to see over the years.
I have seen it all, but what I saw last Saturday night was the moment that made me so happy and inspired me to write about Bianca today. As I stated earlier, this competition started last Thursday and lasted three days. In high-level swim competitions, you compete in the morning AND in the evening. These days started at 9 a.m. There was a break around 1 p.m., and they were back at the pool at 5 p.m. every day until about 9 p.m. Pretty intense, right?
Well, Saturday was the third day, and that night was the sixth session of the three days. Bianca had just swam the two hardest events in swimming on that evening: the one-mile freestyle race and the 200-yard butterfly race, both of which are grueling to say the least. She had one more event to go, a team relay where she would swim with three teammates, and I knew she had to be exhausted.
I mean, all I did was watch, and I was exhausted! I sat and reflected on the last 14 years as her last event of the competition neared: the practices, the sacrifices, the victories, the defeats. All of it reminded me what true commitment really means. It means doing what you said you would do long after the mood in which you said it in has passed. Have you ever realized that?
We all commit to things in the moment when they sound good, but what about when it gets hard or frustrating or painful? Do we keep going, or do we stop? I learned a lot about commitment from my daughter Bianca over the last 14 years, but what moved me the most was a moment on Saturday night that lasted about 10 seconds. You know what it was? It was a smile and an enthusiastic cheer for her teammates as they swam.
In that moment, I realized that even though the last 14 years have been hard, she was still enjoying it. Her smile was so genuine, and those cheers of encouragement were so real. I went from feeling bad for her to feeling great and maybe even a little envious that I wasn’t part of something so special. But then I realized that I am, too.
I realized that night that TLC is also a special team, and we have all sacrificed and done some very hard things over the years as well. You know what else? We also keep smiling regardless of what happens because we are committed to others, not just to ourselves. That keeps us smiling, just like it has for Bianca over the last 14 years.
That night, I was reminded that anything that is great is not always easy. But man, when you think about the impact it has on others, it sure is worth it. Bianca helped remind me of the commitment I made to an organization and the impact it can have on others. I hope Bianca or I have blessed you today as you read this and helped you reflect.
Maybe it’s your family, a team, or an organization, but just remember you are part of something great! You made a commitment to them, and they appreciate you! Now please smile, and let’s keep going even if its hard. I promise you, it’s worth it!
Thank you for reading and God bless you. Have a great week!