Sunday, October 21, 2012

Set Up For Success

To my son Tommy,

Many things in this world feel like they are dead set against you.  To many times and too many things set you up for failure.  Not only that, but some people or companies root for failure and turn a pretty profit on just that.

Credit card companies hope you pay late because that increases their bottom line.  Diet food companies secretly hope you stay fat because then you keep buying the promise or hope of losing weight.  The list of companies and organizations that set you up for failure in one way or another is long and distinguished.  If pharmaceutical companies actually created cures they wouldn't get you on the comeback.  Governments put on sin taxes, fees, and fines for vice like items and entertainment.  They say it is to encourage you to stop whatever it is, but if everyone suddenly stopped then they would lose money.  Do you think they are really rooting for you to break the bad habit that is taxable?  Divorce lawyers only get paid if marriages end.  Eyeglass stores hope you get nearsighted.  Libraries hope you return the book late so they can collect that fee.  It really is prevasive in this society.  It can be found in government, traffic court, grocery stores, gas stations, courts, hospitals, sports, even to-do lists, you name it.

Not only that, those closest to you can set you up for failure.  Don't give a man a white shirt to wear to a spaghetti dinner if tomato sauce stains are going to upset you. If you want someone to pay attention and focus, don't turn on the tv or give him another distraction and then get mad at the child when he doesn't listen.  Don't bring your three year old to the busy mass with all his cousins to meet and greet (as I did today) and get upset when he doesn't mind or behave.  Too many times in this world we set the ones we love up for failure and wait to see if they "pass the test" and "avoid the trap" knowing all too well we have done them no favors and have secretly already passed judgement and armed ourselves for their eventual failure.  Sometimes we do this on purpose, even if subconsciously, but often it is a simple mistake and oversight that leads us into these situations with our true loved ones.

So, as you grow up, when someone disappoints and fails, take a little extra time and ask yourself "Did I set them up for failure?  How did I contribute?  Did I make it as easy as possible for them to succeed?"  I am not saying take all the blame,  because the responsibility still lies on the person and his actions.  I am saying for those you truly love you should want them to succeed and not be happy or ready for the attack when they fail.  For those you truly love you want the best for them and you want to set them up for success.

On my part,  I will try to get you ready for the earlier quiet mass at 7:30.  Though it will mean missing out on going to church with the whole extended clan, it will set you up for success and let you learn how to behave in church.  It will also let me avoid feeling like the worst type of failure, which is when you set yourself up for failure through your own words or own actions and become your own worst enemy.  Instead it will set me up for success as a dad and allow me to teach and pass on good things to you.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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