Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Advice for my Children

I’ve been thinking a bit about the little bits of wisdom that I want to pass on to my children in their growing years, and one in particular has risen to the surface of late:
-Don’t try.

This, of course, counters a common message that children receive:
-You should always try your best.

The reason that I prefer the former message to the latter one is that I think that trying is overrated. One can often hear words of support like,
-Well, maybe you didn’t win, but you tried your best.
-Good try.
-Please just try.

If it’s a “try” and if we’re “trying,” then that suggests that the outcome that we’re trying for is better than any other outcome. It also suggests that the outcome is better than the current moment. And the current moment is all that we ever have. So, we might as well enjoy it. Instead of trying, let’s just do. Forming an intention never hurts, but beyond that, just enjoy what you’re doing. You don’t need to try to win a race. You can just run it. The one exception is that yes, you should try to pee before bed.


StuntMom said...

I'm not sure I'm here with you on this one. Why can't one "try" to run a race, when there is fear of even entering a race? Why can't one "try" to ride a bike, when they are just learning how? Why not try to learn to play the violin, and if it doesn't work out, trying can be the outcome. Why not "try" new foods?

marshkn said...

To me, trying means exerting effort in the hope of getting to a better place. Doing with intention is different. So, when you get on a bike, envision yourself riding it. And then just do what you're capable of doing. Why don't you just play the violin and stop if you don't like playing it anymore? Why not just eat new foods, instead of "trying" them? "Trying" a new food includes the message that there's a reason not to eat it, but you're going to "try" it anyway. We attribute honor to trying, as in when someone says "Well, I tried." But really, it doesn't matter if you tried. You did what you did, there was an outcome, and now that is past.