The other day I asked one of my students how he was doing in football and he said, "The coach got really mad at me last night. He said I wasn't playing to my potential."
I laughed and said, "Oh ho. I understand your coach. I do. Nothing makes a coach or mom madder than when a kid won't live up to his potential." Then I told him about Abe.
Every now and then Abe reminds our family that I swore at him during supper one night. It was a significant event since I'm not a swearer, and ruined the whole supper. Abe also reminds us that he is the only child I ever swore at.
When Ray, our son-in-law, heard the story of me swearing at Abe he said, "Let me guess. He wasn't living up to his potential was he?"
I said, "Yes! How did you know that? It would make me so mad when he didn't live up to his potential, but how did you know that?"
He smiled and said, "It's the one thing that made my mom the most mad at me, too."
I concluded the story by light-heartedly telling my student, "Unless you want people mad at you your whole life, I guess you'd just better live up to your potential."
. . . because if there is one thing that moms and coaches and teachers are good at it's pointing out the obvious.