I constantly found myself lecturing my kids as they leave my care. They would be jumping out of the vehicle in the drop off only lane at the school… and before the door slammed I’d yell “try your best”.

They would be leaving to go with friends and I’d be hanging out the window… “let others see Jesus in you” and deep down… I know that they weren’t thinking on Jesus… but I had to try.

Over and over people tell you to try your best and frankly… it’s not a constant thing. You can’t constantly work towards your best in every situation of your life.

We tell our kids and our selves… try your best… if you are trying your best… then failure if okay.

There will be few times in our lives when we actually do our best… the odds are not in our favor. So how do you train or show your kids how to try their best…? Two schools of thought here.

Explain your expectations. Kids don’t do vague… it’s the same as trying to guide them to Easter eggs in the yard… it’s over there (pointing wildly in the other direction).

It’s not helpful to the young mind. They need exact explanations. They need step by step directions on how to achieve the outcome they want. So explain.

Setting clear and concise outcomes for our kiddos give them boundaries that are so necessary in children. They need a map to achievement… and that won’t change until they are able to mentally connect the dots of success.

These steps change for each kiddo… they aren’t all the same. Some are guided by their heart which means they will work hard to achieve things that complete that need to put others first. Some are guided by their head, those will work and work towards achievements which check off their list of goals.

Some… well some are guided by instinct… those are the ones that are just looking to reach one goal… then another and they are the ones that will change the world… each kid has something different to offer and it’s our jobs as parents… mentors… teachers… coaches… leaders… to guide them to reach those.

Lay out the exact expectations you have of your children. What success are you looking for? “Your Best” is a catch phrase… lay it out on the table for your littles…

Success is finishing the test… it doesn’t matter what the outcome because you made it to the finish line.

Success is doing better than you did last year… because growth takes time and I’m so proud of your climb.

Not all kiddos are brain surgeons… and for those kids that are… they are lacking somewhere else. Life has a way of leveling the playing field. Your kiddo may be average in every way but oh the outcome they may achieve.

Compare them to the ones that level up early and then crash/burn from the stress of the journey… it’s a reality that we don’t consider.

In a world of just getting by… it’s important to remember that you are so much more than your test scores. I have seen kids with amazing potential who were a flash in the pan… they bought into their potential and just waited to ride on it… and they never move forward.

Then you have those who will just explode into amazing… those are the ones to watch. They weren’t built up in their youth … “you’re so smart”, “you are the best” and etc… they are the ones that will think their way through the problems and score the outcome.

Don’t build your littles up to where they buy in on their own hype… don’t set them up for failure. Those of us who have done the most… began in the least. History is full of examples of how those with barriers will eclipse those with much.

Prepare your littles… regardless of age. God uses those who help themselves. Remind them that hard work can level the playing field. Life isn’t fair. But with hard work… you can make it fair. Work hard and teach the effort of hard work to yours.

Kalynn Brazeal is a conservative, Christian wife/mom/country girl carrying around an MBA, several decades of business experience and a strong opinion. Dividing her time between Grand Lake and North Dakota, she continues to share her column on life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and cake. She can be reached by email at kmbrazeal@icloud.com.