Last weekend I watched a group of very determined youngsters on Now, what kind of a hunt can there be in our tidy village of Scarsdale, you ask? Were they hunting down those wild coyotes that seem to plague our well-manicured neighborhoods? Were they hunting for gold in the gentle stream flowing near our library? Were they joining the Scarsdale Junior League hunting for litter in the Pitch in For Parks effort?
No, these kids were simply Bright colored plastic eggs. Cheap eggs with cheap prizes inside—chocolate, stickers, trinkets. They were hungry for finding them. The hunt was full or squeals and shouts. And, they all went home with a basket full of those prized eggs.
The hunt—was it about what was inside those cheap eggs? Were these kids who never get candy or trinkets? Was there a trophy awarded for the one who gathered the most eggs? Nope.
What was it, then, that created such a frenzy of excitement and energy?
It seemed to me that Spring Easter Egg Hunts, like the one I watched, are really about determination. Determination to participate. Determination to accomplish. Determination to succeed. And, I might add in this case, determination to have some fun too.
Coach Linzy Grant Davis calls determination a precious tool:
Determination is one the greatest assets we can possess. Determination can bring out the best in us. Determination is the tool we use to defeat discouragement. Determination is the tool we use to overcome temporary failure to prevent failure from becoming permanent. Determination is the tool we use to produce patience. Determination is the tool we use to feed our faith and starve our doubts to death.
Determination builds character. It helps us become a more reliable person. It helps us meet our commitments. It helps us prioritize and manage our time to maximize positive results. Determination is the tool we use to give us the will to win. Determination is the tool we use to help us win in spite of our limitations. Determination is the tool we use to dig ourselves out of a hole. Determination is the tool we use to improve our relationships. Determination is the tool we use to reach our goals. Determination is the tool we use to succeed.
Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? It’s something I want lots of, and surely something I want for my kids. But, determination doesn’t work like other things you can provide for your children–like a custom designed prom dress from Estrada on Brook Street or a unique toy from Scarsdale
You can’t buy determination. And, you can’t give it to someone. Actually, the way it works is, if you try to give it to someone, you can end up doing just the opposite. You see, to get determination you have to really want something. You have to want it bad enough you’ll do what it takes to get it, however long that requires. And you have to go after it yourself.
If everything you want is simply handed to you, you never get a chance to learn determination.
So, set some goals. Take appropriate risks. Make mistakes. Reflect on the mistakes. Learn from them and go back to re-newed working on the goals. Build your self-determination!
And, here’s my advice if you are parenting, make sure there’s plenty of things you don’t give or provide for your kids. Let them have many opportunities to set goals, do things themselves, earn things themselves, and accomplish things all on their own. It might turn out to be one of the best gifts you give them, in the long run.