Resiliency Rule 06 - Good Things Take Time
1 Thessalonians 5:14
14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.
On a sports team there are two different types of character… “Performance Character” and “Moral Character.” Both of these are essential to develop as we parent/coach our athletes. John Wooden famously said “good things take time.” As you parent and coach remember that you will know you have been successful 20 years from now when your children/athletes are husbands and fathers and wives and mothers who are walking with Jesus as their King. Good things take time. Let’s not confuse our parenting or coaching goals with our parenting and coaching purpose. Goals have a beginning and an end. Parenting and Coaching purpose is what we do to be transformational in the eternal lives of our children/athletes. Good things take time.
Check out this video of Jason Garrett as he talks about his transformational coach and take a moment to read Les Steckle’s story of “Good Things Take Time.
Good Things Take Time by Les Steckle
It was the dream of a lifetime. In 1984 I was named head coach of the Minnesota Vikings and at the time was the second youngest head coach in the NFL. My coaching career was barely a decade old and after five seasons as an assistant, I had replaced the retiring Bud Grant.
But in four short months, I went from being a popular assistant to filling the dreaded role of hated head coach. My Marine style of leadership and discipline and my failure to nurture relationships with my coaching staff set the tone for a rough campaign. After the team finished 3-13, my dream quickly turned into a nightmare. I was fired after just one season.
Since that time, I've come to appreciate the wisdom of Coach Wooden's famous words: "Good things take time." Did I deserve more time to prove myself in Minnesota? I don’t know. But I've been encouraged by a legendary head coach who did get that chance and who I believe best illustrates Coach Wooden's saying. His name is Tom Landry.
Shortly after I left the Vikings, I spent some with Coach Landry in his home. As we sat in his living room, he told me an interesting story about his early years coaching the Dallas Cowboys. His team won five or fewer games in each of his first five seasons including a 0-11-1 start as a rookie coach in 1960.
"Les, you weren’t as fortunate as I was," he told me. "You won three games your first year. I didn't win any."
Naturally, the Dallas fans were impatient and wanted results. The legendary general manager, Tex Schramm, called the team owner, Clint Murchison, Jr., and told him they needed to make a change: Coach Landry would be fired. Murchison told Schramm that he would call him back after the weekend. Murchison called on the following Monday and surprised his general manager by giving Coach Landry a 10-year contract.
“We have the right man," Murchison said. Good things are going to happen. But it takes time."
Coach Landry eventually proved Murchison right and led the Dallas Cowboys for 29 seasons. During that time, Dallas won two Super Bowls, five NFC titles, 13 Divisional titles, and compiled a 270-178-6 record.
That scenario likely wouldn't happen in today's day and age. Our society is conditioned to be impatient and expect instant results. We live by two words: performance and pressure. If you can't perform, you're out, and the pressure to succeed is intense.
We need to substitute another word: patience. Very few people exercise patience today. Even Coach Wooden admitted once in an interview that if he had coached today, who knows what would have happened to his career. He didn't launch his first few years at UCLA by winning, and it took him 14 years before he won his first championship there.
Can you imagine what we might have missed out on if coaches like Tom Landry and John Wooden had not been given time to build the foundation for their successful programs? Many innovations to the games of football and basketball might not have been conceived. And, more importantly, two of the greatest coaches of all time might not have been afforded the sizable platforms that have impacted countless lives.
Coach Wooden modeled this principle of patience in his coaching. When I became a coach, I found myself watching him during games and wanting to emulate him . He was always so calm and poised when he was on the bench. He was fiercely competitive, yet he exuded a gentle spirit. You could tell he had such passion for his players. I wanted to be like that.
But the journey to understanding Coach Wooden's principle of patience was difficult at times . I think about when I was the offensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans. In 1997, when the team moved from Houston to Nashville, our stadium was not yet finished. Our home games during the first season were at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis. The city of Memphis wanted the franchise, but it went to Nashville instead. As a result, the fans there were bitter. They made a point to boo us during games and cheer for the opposing team.
The next season, we played our home games at Vanderbilt University in Nashville where the city said it would fully support us. But at each game, only a fraction of the crowd would cheer for us while 30,000 others rallied for the visiting teams. Three years later, after struggling to gain a faithful fan base, we finally got to play in our own stadium “The Coliseum.” That year, we went undefeated before losing to St Louis 23-16 in Super Bowl XXXIV. Good things take time. In 1984, I was devastated when the Vikings fired me. It wouldn’t be the last time I lost a job that I really loved. I've learned it takes patience and courage to get through tough circumstances.
Coach Wooden's legacy was built over a 100-year period of time. Imagine how his impact might have diminished had he not understood the truth behind his own words: "Good things take time.
Family Devotional Questions
1. Has there ever been a time when someone gave you more than one chance to prove yourself?
2. How have you seen the phrase "good things take time" play out in your own life?
3. Read Romans 8:28. How does this verse give you encouragement to pursue patience in your current situation?
Father, thank you that you work all things together for my good. Help me to exhibit patience and courage in my life as I wait on your perfect timing.