We talked recently about the Spartan who pointed out that it wasn’t right to say that “the better man won” at the Olympic Games. The better wrestler had won, he said. And it’s an important point: there are lots of winners out there who are actually losers. A lot of achievements that turn out to be costly victories because of the means used to achieve them.
Meanwhile, there are plenty of great athletes, entrepreneurs, and leaders who might not be the most accomplished at their profession, but have pulled off a rare feat: they’re dedicated parents too. They’re faithful spouses. They’re happy.
This is a more elusive form of greatness, as Cato the Elder once told his son. “An orator,” he said, “is a good man good at speaking.” That’s what we have to help our kids become: good people who are good at things. That is the recipe for real, sustained and comprehensive greatness.
We say in The Daily Dad that character is fate. It’s going to determine their success in their chosen field far more than any private coach or college scholarship will. It’ll do more for them than genetics, in the long run anyway. Moreover, character is something accessible and possible for all of us. Not everyone has the potential to be seven feet tall or has the fast twitch muscle fiber to qualify as elite.
Everyone has the potential to be a good person. Especially your kids.