I’m impatient. When I was a kid, a plaque hung on my bedroom wall that reminds me of my impetuous nature. It read, “God grant me patience and I want it now.”
Now with the changing seasons of life it feels like more than a few years slipped by more quickly than I could have ever imagined. I can now see life’s journey coming together like a four-quarter game. It is now it is clearly evident that many of the seemingly small decisions we make along the way are critical to living out a successful forth quarter.
The Four Quarters of Life
- The 1st Quarter is all about learning, discovering, growing and graduating into adulthood. It is a time for dreaming; making mistakes and belief that extends beyond our competence.
- The 2nd Quarter is where things get exciting. It is arguably the busiest time of life as we manage through marriage, kids, and careers. How we play out these roles will forever influence and shape the most important relationships in our lives.
- The 3rd Quarter is a season of transition. Careers peak, kids head off to college and launch their careers, and we seemingly find ourselves in unfamiliar territory. Everything that was once so familiar and the things that gave us identity pass us by.
- The 4th Quarter should be a time of harvest and contribution. The seeds we planted along the way with the people we loved and led begin to reflect how we spent our time, talent and resources along the way.
Each of these quarters of life builds upon each other. In every season of life we get to choose what is important. We get to decide how we are going to spend our time, talent and resources—maybe never calculating the return on investment along the way.
Wise counsel is priceless. You don't always recognize wisdom the moment you hear it. But if you hang on to it long enough it can be the seed of great blessing.
That's what happened when a wonderful mentor impressed upon me that if I put my family first I would never be disappointed.
Today, I can confirm that this counsel was not only wise it was prophetic.
- Who do you want to be remember by?
- What do you want to be remember for?
The answers to these two questions create a infallible filter for deciding how to invest your time, talent and resources. They calibrate your personal compass on “true north" and most certainly family will rise towards the top.
Wisdom Becomes Something Great
My wife and I are Cougs! We met each other at WSU and a year after graduating got married. It was the start of something great. Suffice to say there is something about WSU that can't be described—you have to experience it to truly understand it.
Being die-hard Cougar fans we had indoctrinated our boys in everything Crimson and Gray. It wasn’t without some resistance. We are not placing any blame but Andrew, at age six, wore Michigan maze and blue to the 1998 Rose Bowl.
But by 2006, it was all Crimson and Gray in our house. On October 21, 2006 my wife and I made our first trip back to Washington State University in 25 years to introduce our sons to WSU. It was a gloriously beautiful fall day. The sun shining over the Palouse is a sight to behold and they were excited to see their first Cougar football game in Martin Stadium.
Sometimes It's Magic
The 16th ranked Oregon Ducks, led by their Heisman Trophy hopeful Dennis Dixon came to town. There is something special about Martin Stadium—it’s cozy, loud and fun. The details of the game were unimportant. The fact we won 34-23 was special for one reason—it created a bond that continues to grow and blossom today.
It’s All In The Family
When Matthew and Andrew graduated from WSU it stretched our ties to WSU three generations. They witnessed some of the worst football in major college football history. But it didn’t stop them from going or me from traveling to Pullman for the games.
Now I look at the fourth quarter of life holding a gift that WSU helped weave together. Matthew and Andrew come from Seattle, I come from Southern California, and my mom comes from Spokane to watch Cougar football four to six times a year.
The 4th Quarter Harvest
I didn’t know how a seed planted on a fall day, at WSU, 12 years ago would help me to build a bond and relationship with my boys that can’t be replicated or replaced. It’s ironic that Oregon returns this weekend with a Heisman hopeful quarterback and a nationally ranked team.
We too will return to Pullman. Our patience will be rewarded with ESPN Game Day coming to WSU for the first time. Finally, Ol’ Crimson comes home after waving on college campuses all over the country for the last 15 years.
This is a historic event for the WSU family. But what is not historic is the fact that again WSU will be the place where families gather, seeds are planted, and memories are made. I think there will be some more magic on Saturday in Martin Stadium.
When you put your family first you’ll never be disappointed. When you put your family first they’ll show up in the fourth quarter. When you put your family first—you’ll have a bank of memories that will forever make you smile. When you think about what it means to be a Coug you’ll always think about family.