Learning to Rally

Defeat doesn’t finish a man. Quit does. A man is not finished when he is defeated. He is finished when he quits.

Richard Nixon

One of the hardest things about parenting is that our children are not like us. Preferences and temperaments do not align, which can lead to gaps in training particular children.

For me, one training gap was rallying. It never occurred to me to teach my sons to come back from defeat. Growing up—with few exceptions—I rallied. I got back up. I got back out there. I didn’t have a choice. At least it felt that way, and so, I thought rebounding came naturally. And it did to some family members.

How do you teach your kids to rally? I don’t know because I didn’t. But, I wish I had known or at least learned it along the way.

Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.

Wimston Churchill

Which parenting gap caught you unawares?

Decisions, Parenting

They Didn’t Do It All*

In 1998, I flew to Tennessee to celebrate my precious grandmother’s 88th birthday. On the plane, I decided to ask a great-aunt how she juggled raising two daughters with church and community responsibilities. I don’t know why I chose Aunt Dottie. I liked her, but we were not close. Maybe because she was kind, cheerful, patient, modest, long-suffering, and—as an empty nester—she had started a successful home business.

Great-Aunt Dottie (2000)

Our only time alone was driving Aunt Dottie to pick up fish dinners for the family meal. I vividly remember the exit of the restaurant parking lot where I started the conversation. More intensely, I remember Aunt Dottie’s answer and what it provoked: vindication and regret.

I didn’t take on additional responsibilities. None of the mothers did. We didn’t expect that of each other until our children were older.

Great-Aunt Dottie

I had wrongly accepted the unrealistic expectations of others and myself. Women have come a long way since Aunt Dottie’s child-raising days, but we have also regressed. I wish I had asked sooner.

Do you have an untapped source for advice?

*Edited and republished for the fourth anniversary of 100words.


Goals: Wishing, Practical, and Backup*

You are never too old to set a new goal or to dream a new dream.

C.S. Lewis

My sons had graduated both high school and college, when I heard thoughtful, helpful advice about goals.  A cousin’s college goals were too ambitious, but we never want to discourage others’ dreams, do we? God can make them happen if it’s his will.

My cousin’s guidance counselor told her to have three college goals: a wishing goal, a practical goal, and a backup goal.  The vocabulary reflected reality, not judgment. Wishing should be encouraged. Practical is important. A backup means you have planned well.

Thinking about wishing, practical, and backup goals showed me another truth. Wishes can soar higher when you have two nets to catch you: practical and backup. While raising children, I wish I had known this excellent way to encourage our collective and individual dreams, and yet, ground our hopes.

In 2013, I fulfilled the wishing goal of visiting Alaska. This photo was taken while I was closest to Mt. Denali, North America’s highest point.

Any new wishing goals while considering practical and back-up ones?

*Edited and republished for the fourth anniversary of 100words.


The Whole Truth

Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Oath for Sworn Testimony

I never thought deeply about what it meant to tell the whole truth until I heard a song from the movie A Man Called Otto.

I will tell you the whole truth … There is so much I want you to know.

Til You’re Home, Rita Wilson

There is so much I want people to know so why don’t I tell the whole truth? The more I have thought about it, I usually withhold the whole truth because I’m protecting others—both the guilty and my listeners. I have wondered if women are wired to protect others or if we’ve been taught.

A woman once said that she had been urged to seek counsel and to “not protect anyone.” I found that profound.

You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should’ve behaved better.

Anne Lamott, Bird By Bird

Truth is hard, I don’t take it lightly when people tell me their truth, even if it’s not the whole truth.

Telling? Protecting?




The Blessing of Photography Pt.2

Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever … It remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.

Aaron Siskind

When I visited my college campus last year, the place held little meaning. So many changes had been made since my graduation that I could not retrace my college steps from my dorm to the cafeteria or library.

Weeks later, my brother texted 1970s photos that depicted the place I remembered. As I looked at photo after photo of where I slept, ate, studied, and made friends while an undergraduate, emotions hidden in my heart rose to the surface.

Later that night, I decluttered papers on my desk and found an article about Christopher Lawing, who photographed old signs from buildings in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Our State March 2023) Viewers told him about rekindled memories and feelings as they gazed on their childhood icons.

May God bless the photographers who help us remember and reminisce.

* May is National Photography Month