Today, in a day filled with practice after practice, I reminded a few friends that is good to rewire the brain to remember the positive. We naturally remember where we were and what we were doing on that most awful of days – 9/11. We have no trouble remembering the moments where we were overwhelmed with something that “changed everything,” like that day did for so many of us in the U.S.A. We are wired to remember the negative to avoid it in the future. If we’re gonna taste peace and a sense of serenity, we’re gonna want to remember the positives even moreso. So, today, I’m publishing the letter I wrote a few years ago to our youngest son, Taylor, as he headed off to college. Re-reading this was searing the positive for me. I hope it stirs you somewhat similarly…
I’m sitting in the KC airport reflecting after a full day working with clients and time with Krit’s. And, of course, my mind moves quickly to the few days you have remaining at the Scott house prior to your first year of college. You, my son, are soon to graduate. So, I began to contemplate, what exactly are you graduating toward? Well, we gotta first reflect and return to where you started…
I can remember your birth like it just happened. You came out kicking, serious, and ready to get after it. Your older siblings treated you differently than they treated each other and it didn’t take long to realize you treated Jo Jo differently too. I will always remember you and Jo as the best of buddies. Your friendship with Jo shows a lot into your character – you are tender and sensitive; not a tease. Jo knows he can trust you. Being someone others can trust is about as good as it gets, my son. Build on this trait as you embark on this journey of discovery. Build trust.
You have always been high on responsibility. This is such an enabling character trait. Throughout your life and the relationships God blesses you with, lean on this character trait. There are NO equal partnerships. None. Take more responsibility than you demand justice. This will hurt. And, it will enable your friendships and maybe even your marriage to last. Remember, God doesn’t give us what we deserve. God gives us grace. Ask God to help you pass a little along. And, remember, all humans are overly tuned to themselves and think they’re giving more than they in fact are. Give, give, give. Trust God at His word that as you give a little, He promises you’ll receive. Trust this truth.
I have so many fond memories of our time together, none more searing or simple than being with you at bedtime. I can’t remember our conversations but I cherish the simple memory that you kept inviting me. Remember, throughout your life, the real power is simply “being with” those you love. Invite them. Invite them with intention. Invite them with intention and initiative. People, especially the women in your life, love it when you initiate. Remember this.
There is power in the invitation.
I will always remember you and a ball. Especially you and a soccer ball. You have so many physical skills, son. You have talent and strength most of us can only dream of. Use it. Make the most of what God has given you. Don’t waste what you’ve been given and don’t get caught in focusing on what you’re missing. Your physical gifts are immense, son. However, your spiritual strengths are your deepest reservoir and you’ve only just begun to tap them. I will never forget when you came back from YL camp and couldn’t wait to tell me you had met Christ. Your eyes said it all. I knew you meant it. My heart swelled beyond its borders:) You played the Coldplay song, Lost, and told me your story. I’ve never seen a braver believer. You are NOT lost, far from it you’ve been found by the Hound of Heaven, as C.S. Lewis would say. I could not be happier for you. The road to our relationship with our Lord is not linear. We take this journey in fits and starts. None of us arrives at Heavens door whole. All of us trip up along the way home. Our only aim as believers is to keep believing, keep moving, keep getting up, and keep asking He who is much stronger and infinitely capable, for His guiding hand and forgiving touch. Remember, you have what it takes.
Your Mom and I have watched you grow up with the help of growth hormone for the physical side (Thanks, Miss) and the help of family, friends, and YL for the mental and spiritual. You have learned a lot along the way. In your next chapter the learning and likely the life lessons will come at you exponentially. You’re going to have to make lots of decisions on your own. Remember where you’ve come from and who you are. Don’t lose your sense of identity. You are a child of God and always will be. You will always be my son. Trust yourself. Trust your gut. Trust your CORE.
Nothing you do can seperate you from His love or mine. When you feel overwhelmed, call us both. When you feel tired or confused; the same. When you just need someone to talk to, please call. We are soon to be seperated by a few states, that is all. I cannot express how confident I am in your character, Taylor, you have what it takes and anybody that tries to take that from you – give ’em the Heisman 🙂 As Pascal said so long ago, “I give you the gift of these four words – I believe in you.” I believe in you…
College is a great time to try new things and experiment. You are going to a school offering a huge variety of curriculum and people. Take some risks making new friends. Step out of your comfort zone and initiate some conversations with teachers and students alike. Ask a girl out just to get to know her. Strike up a conversation with a stranger in the student union. Ask questions you tend to think are stupid or things you should already know. The greatest geniuses throughout the history of time, asked curious questions. Lots of them thought their questions were kinda dumb. History shows us they were not. Ask more questions. Tune in and really listen when you hear a response. You have a great brain. Let me say this again, it’s worth repeating. You have a great brain. I love the way you process. I’ve told you this many times about your thinking. You are a very rational and accurate accessor of information. Trust your thinking. Taking chances, for you, will mostly revolve around trusting your emotions too. Don’t let fear stop you from making new friends. Emotions are meant to move us. Tune in to yours. Act in the face of fear. You perform great under pressure in sport because you have regulated your fear response. Extrapolate this response to your relationships. Remember, love is always some kinda irrational response and rarely makes sense to others. Love and loss are bookends; Love, anyway. You have what it takes, remember…
Dream and do. Remember your learning from BTL practices and speak your mind with crystal clarity. Don’t waste time chasing things that don’t energize you. And, don’t be afraid of the real, hard, work it’s gonna take to master anything. Hard opus you can sustain as you perspire; hard labor you will disdain as you tire. Find your opus. College is a great time for putting your passions toward purpose. Don’t worry about your lack of clarity for what you want to do with your life. Experiment. Clarity will come. Work hard along the way. Hard work is always required. Embrace this.
Turn off your electronics before you want to. Read. Study. Learn. And, apply. College is a time to learn how to learn. Simple as that. Don’t put undo pressure on yourself to perform but don’t be too easy on yourself either. You want to live in the tension of trying to stretch yourself without getting yourself stressed out in the process. When you find yourself feeling like you’ve pushed too far, remember to take three deep breathes, slowly and deeply. Your brain will automatically calm itself. When you find yourself either bored or taking it too easy, push yourself to get out of your comfort zone – challenge yourself. Technology is a great tool and it’s also a HUGE source of addictions. You are leaving home with lots of technology. Develop more discipline to turn it off, earlier. Use it but don’t abuse it.
Call and text your Mom more often than you think about it. Make it a discipline. Nobody cares more about every aspect of you. Nobody loves you more than Mom. And nobody is taken for granted more either. Call her. Text her. Text her. Text her. ACKnowledge her bids for your attention. Your Mom’s LOVE is the greatest, deepest, most sacrificial kinda love this side of Heaven. Take the time to make sure she knows, you know.
High performers in work and life, prepare. Normal people procrastinate. Prepare. Lay your clothes out the night before. Lay your books out the night before. Review your upcoming day and plan it out the night before. The enemy to high performance is putting it off, even just a little. Prepare. Your Mom did this for you while you were here. You gotta do it now. Prepare like your life depends on it and life gets so much easier and less stressful. And, don’t be afraid to embrace some abiguity in your day to day. As much as we all want things to be structured, ordered, and make some semblance of sense, much of life is messy, gray, and ambiguous. Embrace and accept this, my son. Don’t let a lack of crystal clarity slow you down. The highest performers ACT into ambiguity. They find clarity through their action, their movement, and oftentimes – their mistakes. You’ve gotta great mind, don’t stop just because you’re missing a few facts. Go. Move. Clarity will come quickly once you do. Remember, you have what it takes here as well.
Read your Bible. Reflect on your reading. Write what you learned. Keep a journal. Pray about what The Lord puts on your heart. Pray. It will go well with your Soul, my son. It will go well with your soul.
You are more than ready. You have what it takes. You have The Lord. You have us in your court and only a call away. You have a new community awaiting you at IWU. You have new friends to make, enjoy, and share new experiences with. You have new teammates to practice and get tired with. You have new learning and new discoveries on the horizon. You even have doc on your side 🙂 Go. Have fun. Have a ton of fun. Have fun learning, have fun laughing, have fun on the field, have fun in the dorm, have fun trying new things with new people. Have fun, my son.
And, come back soon. My heart is happy and broken but mostly I am happy for you and for the man you are and are becoming. God bless you and guide you. And, God, help me hold onto the fact you’ve got us ALL in the palm of your hand…
All my love,