On Self-Improvement

He’s running across the yard with a huge grin on his face.  “Mom!  It’s 20 yards from the road.  I made it that far!  Pretty soon I’ll be hitting the road.”

“Bud, that’s awesome!  Ah….  you might have to find a new place to hit from.  That could get ugly if you hit a car.”

“I know, but can we pace it off?  Can we see how far I’m hitting ’em?”

I grab my coffee and he’s still holding on to his driver when we start counting our paces across the park.  We walk over irrigation sprinklers that create patchworks of green on an otherwise brown landscape.  We side-step thistle and the party favors left by the neighborhood dogs.  I’m counting out loud as we go.

We get to his ball when I reach 238 paces.

He looks at me and says, “I got 240.  That’s all?  It’s way farther than that.  It has to be.”

“Are you kidding me?  240 yards is awesome!  Remember when you wouldn’t even hit the middle of the park?  Now you’re almost clearing the whole park?”

“I know, but I hit farther than that at the driving range.”

“Let’s call grandpa.  He’s gotta hear this.”

 

Grandpa is impressed and offers the use of his 100 foot tape measure.  We run up the hill to fetch the tape and some pats on the back for Will.  On the way up the hill Will keeps talking about how he knows he can hit farther than that.  I remind him about how far he’s come.

 

Back and forth…

“I know that’s farther than 240 yards.”

“Yes, but 240 yards is awesome.”

 

 

 

We must look like weirdos plotting the park with the 100 foot tape measure.  Then I remember that the neighbors are used to our shenanigans.  They often retrieve Will’s lost golf balls and return them to the basket on our front step.  Apparently it’s more fun to pick up golf balls than puppy party favors.

We add the number of feet and divide by three and get 239 yards.

Will shakes his head at the number.

I tell him to drink some water before he gets crabby.  “It’s about self-improvement, bud.  It’s not about how far you hit compared to other 14 year olds.  It’s about how far you hit compared to how you hit.  Every week you hit farther.  That’s what it’s about.”

“I’m gonna see if I can find an app that acts like a range finder.”

 

He spends some time Googling longest drive and range finders.

“Can you eat something while you’re doing that?  You gotta fuel up if you’re gonna hit far.”

“I know, but I gotta find something that’ll tell me how far that ball really went.”

We put our heads together and find a way to calculate distance with Google Earth.  We can plot points an an aerial view of the park.  It’s cool.  (I’m glad we don’t have to spend money on an app.)

Google Earth comes up with 240 yards.

 

Will says, “It reminds me of what you said about IQ scores.”

“What do you mean?”

“Remember how you said you never wanted to know your IQ score because you want to believe you’re smart and don’t want to know otherwise?”

“Yeah.  I remember.”

“Maybe I just like knowing I’m hitting far and doing better, but I don’t need to know exactly how far I’m hitting.”

 

 

 

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4 comments

  1. I heard someone say the other day that self-improvement isn’t sexy or flashy or entertaining – but it looks pretty darned entertaining to me!

  2. Proof yet again you are raising some pretty amazing kids; learning key lessons most adults overlook. Love it.

  3. Pat,

    Thanks. I think it’s entertaining, too. Jenny would say, “Mom, self-improvement IS the journey.”

    When I said that about self-improvement not being sexy, I was thinking that, in relation to what our culture thinks is sexy/engaging/interesting, self-improvement is usually way down on the list.

  4. Kira,

    I know you are one busy woman. I so appreciate you stopping by to write and contribute and share your wise words.

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