Just Be Available
I make breakfast for my kids before they head to school every morning. I enjoy this ritual every day, because it allows me to interact with my kids and get a chance to get caught up on current events on TV before I start my day.
I chat with my kids, make them breakfast and have the TV humming in the background. On one particular morning, I was listening to Mike and Mike, a sports talk show on ESPN. Mike and Mike were speaking with Herm Edwards, an NFL Football analyst and former NFL head coach and player. It just so happened that they were speaking with Herm on the anniversary of his most famous play as an NFL player, known as the “The Miracle at the Meadowlands”, where Herm, as a NY Jets defensive player recovered a NY Giants fumble and returned it for the game winning touchdown.
Mike Greenburg, one of the hosts of Mike and Mike, congratulated Herm for the accomplishment and then asked, “What was your proudest moment from your 10 years of playing in the NFL?” Herm thought for a moment and then looked over at Mike and responded, “Being available.”
Mike smiled, “Yeah, but what moment was your greatest moment, in your opinion?” Herm Edwards smiled back at Mike, “That was my greatest moment, Mike, being available.” Herm leaned forward in his chair, “You see, I never missed a practice and I never missed a game in my 10 years of playing in the NFL. There is something to be said about being available and in life that is important.” He paused and settled back in his chair. “Yes, that was my proudest moment.”
His comments that morning stuck in my brain all day. I thought about the image of Herm Edwards on my TV screen as he responded to that question on Mike and Mike. The confidence in his answer of “availability” stayed ingrained in my head for a long time as I pondered the concept of “being available.”
We tend to make life complicated and chase after success and strive for things just beyond our reach so much that we forget about a fundamental principle that was expressed in Herm’s comments on Mike and Mike. Being available is a simple concept that is hard to execute if not done intentionally. It perplexes me when one of my kids demands that I be the one to drop them off at practice or to stick around and watch them take reps at practice or listen to their latest project for school as they read it aloud to me. It never occurred to me that they just want me to be available, to just be around them as they encounter the daily rigors of life.
I take it for granted that my parents have made a point to be available to me and my family. They respond when I call and never hesitate to make the drive up to our house to help with the kids and attend another recital or baseball game. They don’t argue, complain, judge, or try to dictate how we should live our life, they just make themselves available, and to me that makes all the difference and is a huge help as we navigate through the challenges of life.
In the end, when we reflect on what we do well, being available should be one our proudest accomplishments. It’s what separates the great from the not-so-great, for in the end, who cares how good you are or what you accomplished if you weren’t available to the people that matter most?
How about you, right now, in your phase of life? Are you available to the ones that are most important to you? If not, why? What are you going to do about it, today?