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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT--Raising the Bar

When I was younger, I loved high jumping, so I was very excited and touched when Elder L. Tom Perry told this story about his son in the October 2007 Conference:

"Lee was a member of his high school track team—he both sprinted and high-jumped. During the 1968 Summer Olympic Games held in Mexico City, the world became enamored with a little-known high jumper named Dick Fosbury. He had experimented with a new high-jumping technique that involved sprinting diagonally toward the bar, then curving and leaping backward over the bar. It came to be called the Fosbury flop.

Like many others, Lee was intrigued by this new technique, but until the new school year started, he didn’t have a place to practice it. I came home one evening to find him practicing the Fosbury flop in our basement. He had set up two makeshift standards by stacking chairs, and he was jumping over a broomstick set on the chairs, using a sofa to cushion his landing. It was very clear to me that the sofa would not hold up under such treatment, so I called a halt to his indoor high-jumping. Instead, I invited him to go with me to a sporting-goods store, where we purchased some foam padding to use for landing and high-jumping standards so he could move the activity out of doors.

After experimenting with the Fosbury flop, Lee decided to return to the western roll technique that he had used previously. Still, through the end of the summer into the fall, he practiced high-jumping for many hours in our backyard.

One evening as I returned home from work, I found Lee practicing his jumping. I asked, “How high is the bar?”

He said, “Five feet, eight inches.”

“Why that height?”

He answered, “You must clear that height to qualify for the state track meet.”

“How are you doing?” I asked.

“I can clear it every time. I haven’t missed.”

My reply: “Let’s raise the bar and see how well you do then.”

He replied, “Then I might miss.”

I queried, “If you don’t raise the bar, how will you ever know your potential?”
So we started moving the bar up to five feet, ten inches; then to six feet; and so on, as he sought to improve. Lee became a better high jumper because he was not content with just clearing the minimum standard. He learned that even if it meant missing, he wanted to keep raising the bar to become the best high jumper he was capable of becoming" (L. Tom Perry, "Raising the Bar," Ensign, November 2007).

Though this story was originally told as it relates to preparation for missionary work, I recognize its validity as counsel for many areas of life. With weight loss, am I truly trying my hardest? Could I eat more fruits and vegetables and turn down more goodies? Could I keep a better food journal? Could I exercise a little harder, a little more often? Could I be a little more positive with my self-dialogue? Could I be living more righteously, thus inviting the Spirit of the Lord to help me know how to improve my life? I think that as I, too, raise the bar, I will become better at losing weight. So this week, I commit to reexamine my plan, and look for an area where I could try a little harder to do a little better. Then, I will allow the blessings of hard work to spill more freely into my life.


Tamaran said...

Great talk and added insight. Thanks for sharing.

Sandi said...

Thank you for sharing this!! My business that I'm trying to take-off isn't doing so well, and this helped me to push myself, just that much harder! LYLAS

K Walton said...

Thanks you guys! What's your new business, Sandi? Do you mind me asking. I'm sort of in the same boat...I'm just starting a photography biz. Man, it's a lot of hard work!