Saturday, August 18, 2012

Passion + Sacrifice = Reward

My family loves water skiing, but last summer our sad little boat had to be towed off the water. My super mechanical hubby fixed it this summer, and we were ready to spend a week at the lake cutting the wake and baking in the sun.

But wait.

Fifteen-year-old-football-playing-uber-dedicated-son said, "Mom, I really want to wakeboard, but I can't spend a week at the lake." *gasp* "I'd miss football practice, and I don't want any of those guys getting better than me."

Um, ok. I tried reminding him that hey, it's "only" high school football, and it's "only" a few missed practices (I know, I know, that's terrible). But no. He's passionate about football, and he's willing to sacrifice a week of wake-boarding for the reward of a starting position on the gridiron.

Just when you think you know it all, a 15-year-old football playing sophomore teaches you a thing or two. I had to take a step back and truly admire his fierce commitment to the game and to his team. It reminded me that if we're dedicated, focused, and passionate about what we love, we'll also reap rewards.


My son not only goes to each practice, but he practices after practice. He shows up early and runs. His asks my hubby to throw the ball for him because he knows "stone hands" is one of his weaknesses.

Just like if we're writing, or thinking about writing, or plotting in our head while we're driving, or setting aside the bank statement to scribble notes about character, we're passionate about what we're doing.


In the Big Thing called Life, giving up lake time isn't such a big deal. But for a 15-year-old, it's huge. Same with missing social events because of practice.

As writers, if we're spending every spare moment writing, if we're sacrificing brain cells, or sanity, or family time, or friend time, or *gasp* TV time, we want that sacrifice to pay off. And it will. 


Before last year, my son had never played football. Ever. By the time the season began, he started every game. The coaches played him on offense and defense. His determination and winning attitude made him valuable.

Some writers receive a quick burst of reward. For others it's slow and steady. Each of our writing milestones, no matter how small, are rewards and worth celebrating. The positive comment on a critique, the acceptance by an online ezine, the requests for fulls and partials, and good golly, representation by an agent or acceptance by an editor, or self-pubbing and having loyal and engaged readers. These are all rewards which make the passion and sacrifice SO worth it.

I'm thankful my son has taught me yet another lesson: Give it all you've got, be willing to sacrifice, and reward will follow.

If you have kids, are they super passionate about something? Does their passion sometimes get in the way of what you want to do? And do you celebrate each writing milestone, knowing your passion and sacrifice paid off? 


  1. And just who do you suppose your son learned that work ethic from, hmmmm? Our kids are all grown and on their own, and it's been a joy watching how their passions have changed. The things they used to enjoy as individuals have been relegated to the back burners so they can focus on pursuing activities that benefit their spouses and children. To hear my onetime sports fanatic son tell me he hasn't been watching any games, because he's been doing such-and-such with/for his kids makes me very proud.

  2. What a great lesson! And to be reminded of it by your son only shows what you've instilled in him. I can relate to him in this way. I always knew I liked to write (essays, poems) but I never knew how much I would love writing a novel. And when I discovered I had a natural, though raw, talent for it, I spent nearly every waking hour honing that skill. If it's a God-given talent, you owe it to Him & yourself to see it through. I'm glad your son found something he both loves & is good at. It could take him farther than he ever dreamed possible!

  3. I'm so proud of and humbled by your son's attitude, Julie. My daughter is also very dedicated to her sport (track & field), so much so that she hardly participated in her senior year activities. Getting faster and stronger superceded senior photos, memories books, end-of-year-parties, etc. She continues to work hard and is determined to make her college track team.

    I admire the dedication of these young people, and for a minute, I thought, "I could never be that dedicated." But when I consider the fact that I've been querying for three years and have continued writing new material and rewriting the old, I guess I could say I'm passionate and dedicated to my dreams.

  4. I just wish I'd been this dedicated when I was younger. I applaud your son Julie, and your daughter Linda!

  5. Awesome post! His dedication is absolutely amazing. It reminds me that it's not the end of the world if I miss my favorite TV show (that's what DVRs are for!) or wake up an hour earlier to write. :)

  6. Absolutely fabulous lesson! You should be so proud of that young man, which I know you are. I suspect he learned this dedication from someone.

    Life is all about lessons. And if we open our eyes and hearts, we can learn them from our children too.

    Thanks for the great post!

  7. Thank you for sharing this inspiring story! It reminds me of a quote (I very much needed to read): "Entrepreneureship is living like most people won't, so you'll be able to live like most people can't." Not that reward = money, but that the sacrifice makes it valuable (in a happiness).

  8. He learned about dedication from somewhere! Maybe his folks? Good job, Julie:)

  9. Hi, Julie. Thanks for sharing. Things have been progressing with my first book being back on-line, but at an extremely slow pace. With another book coming and a third one in the new year, I'm trying not to focus on the poor now, but keep pushing for the potential of the future. I'm hoping that today and yesterday's sacrifices will produce positive results in the months and years ahead.
    Both of my boys are in music, and they both have been amazing at how driven they have been to achieve the best possible results. My oldest was Califonia All-State Jazz twice; something very few get the chance to do. My incoming freshman looks to achieve much the same results and at an earlier age. They have inspired me, too.
    I guess the lesson here is perseverance and drive, huh?


  10. Good for him! As a fb coach's wife, I know how happy he must make his coaches. You've done a good job with that boy, Julie. :D

    My 6yo is a gymnast and we're just starting her in competitive gymnastics. I'll be in the car A LOT taking her to and from lessons and meets. I think it will be worth it, though. She loves it and I'm excited for her. I just hope I'm not too exhausted to write. *deep breath*

  11. Such a great lesson - something everyone can take away from. It is hard to keep going when the reward takes a while to show its face, but in the end it's all worth it:)

  12. Wow, that's impressive. What dedication! Love it. That's the key to getting better at something--no excuses, and diligently KEEP AT IT. :)

  13. My soon-to-be 6th grader thinks he has to be part of every single offered opportunity, so we've gradually let him add them in. This year it's football, basketball, baseball, advanced reading club, and band. I hope he can keep it all up or at least pick a few he feels so dedicated toward! Good luck to yours this season as well!

  14. Thanks, guys. I tell ya, kids can sure teach us a lot!

  15. My kids teach me not only about perseverance, but compassion, patience, generosity, and honesty. I don't want to know how different I'd be without them.

  16. Aw, you have an amazing son. We can learn a lot from our kids.

    Athletes work so hard. We can all relate to their struggles and triumphs, which is why the Olympics are so well-loved.

    Thanks for the post!

  17. I love it when good things happen to good people, especially when they are so dedicated.

  18. My daughter is artistic and loves to draw comics as well as write. She plans on going into that field when she graduates. My son loves video games and works on creating his own scripts for them. He loved basketball at one time but never got into the sport of it. He also loves music and wants to play the guitar and sing. I try and instill in them that they can do anything they want, if they work at it and are dedicated. There was a time in my life that I set aside my own writing, but I went back to it, and I'm determined to prove to them that if you don't give up on your dreams, and push through, you can succeed.