Now, these kids were good-hearted kids. If a classmate gets hurt, they would automatically want to comfort this student. But then I would nearly yell, "Uh-uh! Everybody keep playing! Shake it off!" Even if the kids were compassionate, I would bark at them to ignore the "injured" kid and get back to business.
One time, one of these students busted her lip -- and man, was I cold! I kept shouting at her, "Shake it off! Keep playing!" She saw that none of the other kids were showing her any compassion, so as best as she could, she kept playing -- but crying at the same time.
Then one of the students, the little bulldog that she was, yelled out, "Stop worrying about your lip and focus on the ball!"
Eventually, the injured student toughen up and started getting serious with the game. Afterwards, I gave the students a lecture about the whole incident.
Yes, I appeared very crude, cold, and heartless. But when teaching children, even at a young age, I find that having a "cold front" about you is sometimes the best way for you to get the message across. After awhile, these kindergartners would get hurt, but would boast to me saying, "Mr. Jones, I got hurt, but I shook it off!"
My point that I wanted them to have is that you can't let pain stop you from reaching a goal. I also didn't want the other students to encourage an injured student to quit by showing this student compassion. My thoughts were that these students get enough compassion at home (and their behavior confirmed it!). They needed someone who could show them how to toughen up.
If you have something in mind that you want to achieve, you need to go for it and not let every little pain distract you!
We've all been guilty of letting the little pains in life keep us from pursuing our goal. As a physical education teacher, I would notice that whenever kids get hurt, they would just sit down and cry. So, I would tell the students that as long as you're crying, you're not playing. All the time they've invested in sobbing could have been invested in something more productive: playing! Crying gets you nowhere. Playing takes you places!
- Do you want to cry or do you want to play?
- Do you want to invest time in depression or in progression?
- Do you want to seek pity or seek empowerment?
- Do you want to find reasons why you CAN'T instead of why you CAN?
Listen: anything worth pursuing will produce some bumps and bruises along the way. These little injuries are nothing compared to the glories that you'll receive when you accomplish something worthy!
NO ONE has ever taught me the importance of shaking off the pain while in hot pursuit of something. I would get an idea, go for it, but when I get a little scratch or a slight slap in the face, then I'll turn back. How many things could I have accomplished if I would have just kept going?
Whenever I play sports games with kids at school or at church, one thing I would stress is that it is a SPORTS game. You WILL get pushed, slapped, and perhaps spit on. These things happen by accident when you get excited about winning. Do NOT become a baby and start crying about it. Focus on winning rather than on crying.
In the same way, YOU, ME, and EVERYBODY that you know have to focus on winning. If you can't ignore the distractions, then ten years would go by and you'd wonder, "Man, why isn't my life getting any better?" Your life can improve, but you just have to stop being distracted by the pain.
I've been gifted with a high pain tolerance. As far as I could remember, I rarely ever cried because of pain, not even as a child. I would cry in embarrassment before I'd cry in pain. I've been punched in the eye, punched in the stomach, fell on my head, cut myself, got plenty of needles, busted my knee caps, and of course not too long ago broken my toe. I've never cried at any of these events, despite the pain that I've gotten. That's probably why I get so cold whenever people talk about so-called pain.
If you have a low tolerance of pain in your life, it's time to build up some tolerance.
I remember watching one of the Nightmare On Elm Street movies long ago when the young Freddy Krueger (before he got killed) was cutting himself and smiling. He told someone, "Do you know why I don't have any pain? Because you have to stop feeling it!"
In the same way, STOP feeling all the pain you get along your route to your goals. Take your mama's advice and stop thinking about the pain. Think about what you could accomplish more than the pain you're experiencing, and as long as you keep your mind on the prize, everything that you experience would simply be little scratches.