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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Five Minutes At a Time

Hockey Lessons

Life Lessons from the 1980 U.S. Hockey Team

In the 1980 Winter Olympics in the semifinal hockey game between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. Jim Craig, the U.S. goalie had what many, including himself, call the best game of his life. He played his best hockey when his country needed him to most. A mentally tough young man from North Easton , Ma. his approach to every game was the same no matter the result. Instead of trying to focus on the entirety of the game he would divide the game into bite size chunks of 5 minutes.

A hockey game is made up of 3 20 minute periods, so Craig would try to shut out the opponents 12 times a game. Striving for perfection 5 minutes at a time. If a goal did score he would shake it off and attempt a new 5 minutes of perfection.

At times life comes at us quicker than the offensive juggernaut that was the Soviet hockey empire of the 60's 70's and early 80's/ Crises bounce off us like so many hockey pucks trying to get past us and getting in the way of our goals.

As a home school teacher, I often feel totally out matched. It's some time in the morning and I am making my way to the table to sit down with one of my kids and on the way I spy the mess my 3 year old made. While I am cleaning that up my 9 year old calls me because she needs help with her computer based instruction. By the time I make it to the table my student is no longer there and so on through the day, you get the picture.

I think we can all learn from Craig's example. Here are some ideas of how I am trying to tie in his goalie philosophy into my life. I hope they help you bring your a-game as well.

1. Come to the game prepared.

In our house we all have a morning routine. Each part of my morning routine is pivotal to my having a productive day. On days I start without completing it, I often get distracted or disheartened much easier. By coming to the table game ready, there is an enormous benefit for both me and my children.

2. Leave your troubles in the locker room.

From 9-1 I have a policy not to answer the phone. I have a nice outgoing message explaining that we are doing school. The problem is that I always answer the phone when it rings. 15 years in the customer service industry has taken it's toll on me. I am almost always disappointed and frustrated when I answer the phone. Especially when it's a telemarketer or a phone survey. I am going to discipline myself to turn the ringer off on school days.

3. Take breaks between periods.

At about 10:30 we have a snack break each day. I am teaching the kids that this is a break for all of us. I try to use that time to re energize myself and get ready to get back in the game.

4. Keep your eye on the puck.

I sometimes try to extend my breaks by taking a peek at my e-mail or my blog comments or my face book page during school time. As well as I can justify this, it is always a recipe for disaster. Again, it takes discipline, but things always go better when I avoid distractions.

5. Do your best to keep to the game plan.

In theory I try to get 1 0n 1 time with each of my kids each day. It seems some days that I flit from crisis to crisis and never get quality time with any of them. By doing my best to keep to the game plan I have a much better chance of not over stretching myself or short-changing them.

6. Develop a short memory for failure.

While it is important to learn from your mistakes, bringing them back in the game with you is never a good idea. Philippians 3: 13b+14 would be excellent to add to our play book: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. If there was hockey in the first century, Paul would have made an excellent coach.

To see what other home school "coaching" is out there go to this weeks Carnival of Home Schooling hosted by Andrea Hermitt the Atlanta Homeschooling Examiner.

Next Time: Star Trek on Purpose.

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