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Marriage and Family

Narrowing the Focus

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03/01/2016 - If you are a fan of professional football, you may be familiar with the name Steve Largent. I recently had an opportunity to watch a documentary on him and confess that I knew very little about him, other than his famous name. His was a personality that is often missing in today's athletes and one that can be easily respected.

His beginnings in the NFL were humble. He was selected in the 4th round of the 1976 draft by the Houston Oilers. After the preseason he was going to be cut but instead was traded to the Seattle Seahawks for an 8th round pick. He was criticized as being too small, too slow, struggled with routs but went on to own many NFL records and be elected to the Hall of Fame.

Besides his abilities on the field, he was also known for his integrity. He ended his participation in the NFL strike in 1982 due to his faith, believing that he had to be true to his word. Now, the Seattle Seahawks give a Steve Largent award every year to a player who displays a high level of dedication and integrity as he did.

In the documentary, Largent commented on a philosophy he played by which also applies to us all in the arenas of work, family, marriage, friendships, health and many others. His philosophy was to narrow his focus. He stated that many players will focus on the ball they are trying to catch, he said he would focus on the tip of the ball. He would narrow is focus to a small detail and catch that. While I am no avid golfer, I have heard of some golfers taking this same concept and focus on a dimple of the golf ball they were going to hit. They narrow their focus.

In day to day life, it is easy to focus on the big things. Go to work and do the job, don't cheat on the spouse, be a good parent and don't mess up so bad that it destroys a lifestyle. The big things are important but what about the little things? It's not from messing up on the big things that often cause problems, but failure to keep focused on the little things. For example, a parent may feel effective with their kids because they come home every night and don't abuse them. However, many kids have felt parentless even when parents are at home because the parent is immersed in electronics rather than keeping engaged with them. How are we about the little things at home? Do we turn off electronics, play games, talk and eat dinner at the table? If married, do we date and find small ways to continuously serve our spouse? Are we very thorough while at work and view no task as too small and no person as unimportant? Do we make the most of our time or waste too many minutes procrastinating? Do we cut corners?

This is not an argument for perfectionism as that would be taking this concept to an unhealthy extreme. However, not addressing the details could be the catalyst for larger problems. If we cannot be trusted with the little things, then who can trust is with the larger things. This concept can alter our focus from fearing doing the big things wrong to ensuring we are doing the small things right. If we do the little things right, then it is unlikely we do the big things wrong.

Steve Largent was just a man. He surely had his problems and issues as we all do. For a man who was statistically not fit to be a football player he accomplished the Hall of Fame. No matter what our history and shortcomings are, this philosophy can help us overcome and do great things. A person who had poor examples for parents in childhood can still be a great parent for his or her kids. A person growing up in a single parent household can be a great spouse. A person who has gone through bankruptcy can learn to manage finances very well. Largent's dedication and integrity was a strength of his and something to be emulated. The Seahawks recognized this and created an award to honor him and inspire others to follow his example. While there will likely be no awards, emulating his mentality will be rewarding.

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