Wisdom From Our Past 11/26/17

If you get caught up in things over which you have no control, it will adversely affect those things over which you have control.
— Legendary basketball coach John Wooden (1910-2010)

Wooden’s words are simple, profound, and apply to us all. Teens often feel they do not have much control. They also may not know how to handle situations when they actually have control. These days, they likely do not realize how much influence social media use has on their thoughts and feelings and that they have the capacity to exert more control over its influence. Whether they’re a star on the athletic  team or a student sitting in the back of the room, not wanting to be seen, Wooden’s words may be hard for a teen to grasp. Yet, it feels like an important idea to help them understand for it could add significant value to their lives. (As a parent, how often do you recite the serenity prayer?)

The NYT article on teen anxiety that we shared a few weeks ago has a lot of important insights to digest, so we thought we’d link you to it again. Our kids are growing up in a very different time than our childhoods with different pressures. This requires us (parents and teachers) to acquire different tools and, sometimes, a new or different perspective. What can we do to help ourselves and our kids handle “today’s” challenges?


We thought it would help to look back at ideas that influenced our generation and recall what shaped us. We searched, dusted the cobwebs, and dug deep to find childhood moments that helped define us. As aspiring athletic teens, we recalled influential people and significant moments.  One memorable moment arose above all others. Coach John Wooden came to speak at the dedication of a very small community high school gym in Southern California. The impact of the evening and the words that he shared helped shape an impressionable young mind far beyond her athletic endeavors, yet the magnitude of both wasn’t seen until many years later. His speech had such an impact on a young girl that she saved every part of that evening. He didn’t just speak about the value of winning basketball, however. He spoke about the larger values of everyone working together, of being considerate of others, about the need for self-discipline, and how you can attain your potential in sports. Most importantly, he spoke about reaching one’s potential in life.

Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best (and made the effort) to become the best of which you are capable of becoming.
— John Wooden

What words of wisdom can we offer kids today?

What life skills and coping tools do our kids need to develop to navigate and succeed today?

Looking at Wooden’s Pyramid of Success, it’s clear the foundation is essential for all -- not just athletes but all participants of life.  Perseverance, doing our best, cooperation, loyalty, and friendship are key values. These lay a solid foundation for well-being and success for any generation. The pyramid gives us many thoughts to ponder, and our thoughts are something we can all control. We hope it provides incentive for each of us to dig into our personal history to find the moments that helped shape us into the adults we are today.  How have your own lived experiences and memories shaped your parenting? What foundational instincts and core values do you draw on? We are all doing the best we can in the moment. Trust your parental gut.


How Teens Today Are Different from Past Generations (2017)

The Four Keys to Well-Being: Dr. Richard Davidson explains that well-being is a skill that can be practiced and strengthened (Greater Good, 2016). “Practicing these four skills (resilience, outlook, attention and generosity) can provide the substrate for enduring change, which can help to promote higher levels of well-being in our lives.

Perfectly imperfect,