I recently saw this little metal sign in a store, and had to get it. It speaks the truth of a message we as parents try oh-so-hard to teach to our kids, doesn't it? I found out it is a quote by Ralph Marston.
To pursue excellence....
Truly, what causes EXCELLENCE? Where does it come from?
I like what James McDonald says in his book, Lord, Change My Attitude, before it's too late.
"Attitudes are patterns of thinking formed over a long period of time."
If excellence is an attitude, and an attitude is a pattern of thinking formed over a long period of time, then it only leads us to assume that our kids are already forging patterns of how they think about carrying out their daily tasks and duties. They need to understand that they are responsible for how they choose to operate day in and day out. They have a choice about their attitudes in this life.
What IS Excellence?
The quality of being exceptionally good of its kind: fineness, superbness, superiority. (Wiki answers.com)
Our attitudes in this life will absolutely affect our actions. We are to have a mindset that supports and encourages us to pursue higher goals, to not be satisfied with the mediocrity of life.
When we are living life for something bigger than ourselves and our worldview is consumed with a passion to serve God, the One who gave us Life, it makes the pursuit of excellence in all that we do so much more desirable.
"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might..." (Eccles. 9:10)
This has long been a favorite verse that I have used with my kids to encourage them to not do anything halfway.
"If a job is worth doing, it's worth doing well" is also an old proverb that has been spoken frequently in our home.
Colin Powell states it well here:
"If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude."
Parents, excellence is an attitude. Start teaching it to your children when they are young. When that pattern becomes the prevailing and overriding thought in your child's mind every time they tackle a task, then it will become a part of their character. And their mindset in life will be to pursue excellence. And the biggest and best reason behind that pursuit? Always, hands down...to give honor and glory to their God.
"Whatever you are doing, let your hearts be in your work, as a thing done for the Lord and not for men." (Colossians 3:23)
Help your children. Model the daily habit of doing whatever you set your hands to do...with excellence. Do hard things, and do them to the best of your ability, knowing God will supply the strength to go above and beyond just "acceptable."
And so, I hung my new little sign as a reminder not just to my kids, but to myself, to my husband, to strive for excellence. We are living out patterns in our lives that have been in the making for a long period of time. If we take note of some sloppiness in our attitudes, it's never too late to change.
God does not expect us to be perfect in this life. He knows we are but dust. He is looking for those who strive to please Him. He is looking at our heart's attitudes as we live out every day.
"...For the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart." (I Samuel 16:7)
"Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men." (Proverbs 22:29)
Pursue Excellence yourself. Your children will catch your attitude!