What Could I Have Done Differently?

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday, 15 November 2018)

Good morning.

Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about car rides home with my dad after sports practices or competitions.

Having four younger brothers meant there wasn’t much one-on-one time between parents and children in my family, so having these brief car rides gave me the rare opportunity for time with my dad.

If it were after basketball practice, we’d have to drop off my friend, Jen, first. If it were after swim, I would be ravenous and barely able to focus on anything other than food. Sometimes we’d listen to the evening radio show with Delilah on Coast 93.3 and my dad would make fun of sappy stories callers would share and Delilah’s cliche advice. There were nights he would relay a comical incident I had missed at home. Often, he’d ask about school. But no matter the particulars, he would always ask about the practice or game and come back to the same question:

What do you think you could you have done differently?

It wasn’t nitpicking, critical, or demeaning. He didn’t ask what I could have done better, just differently.  It didn’t matter that a teammate overthrew a pass, or set a bad pick. All he wanted to know was about my choices and my actions. He didn’t just ask this question when my team lost, or practice hadn’t gone well – he asked no matter the circumstance. And in doing so, my father taught me an important life lesson.  He was training me to think about alternative approaches, to find better ways to communicate with others, and to assess my own actions and worry less about things I couldn’t control in others. Over time I came to realize that the only actions I could control in life were my own. Asking what I could have done differently challenged me to constantly evaluate my choices and my affect on the world around me.

I realize now it was a question he must have asked himself every day.

After he died three years ago, there was much grieving and the immediacy of the loss brought larger memories to the surface more often. But now, after some time has passed, I find my mind returning to simple moments with him which in many ways contributed more significantly to my development and approach to life than anything else.

Now, as a parent, I think about how much I want to emulate him. And maybe asking myself, at the end of each day, “What could I have done differently,” is start.

Let us pray:

Heavenly Father,

When we become frustrated and anxious about events and circumstances around us, give us the grace to recognize and relinquish what is beyond our control.

Guide us, as my father did, to honestly assess our roles in our families and communities and to determine the ways we may best serve others.  Amen.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for us

Live Jesus in our Heart…forever.

Emily McLean–English Teacher

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