G-Pop sat quietly, listening intently as his grandson related a story about one of the young students at the school.

The little fellow had turned into quite a “preacher,” sharing his feelings about the best way to handle things and get along. He told G-Pop’s grandson that “you have to be a little mean to get what you want.”

The grandson was obviously bewildered by the comment, considering how contrary it was to the thoughts of his family–but impressed enough that G-Pop felt the need to input.

So after the grandson finished his tale, G-Pop shared.

“It comes down to a pair of words: toy and two. Actually, it comes down to what each of those letters represent. See, your young friend thinks the most important thing in life is to get what you want. But what if you don’t know what you want? Or what if you’re wrong? We don’t want to live in a world where the meanest and strongest control everything. So there has to be a better way.

So take the word toy. T-O-Y. It stands for ‘Tough On Yourself.’ And T-W-O represents ‘Tender With Others.’

By what you say, this young man believes that he should be tough on other people and tender with himself. It might sound good, but you see, if everybody did that, there would always have to be a big batch of losers for there to be a whole bunch of winners.

So what happens if the losers are upset? What if they want to get even? What if you’re in the middle of a ‘win’ and suddenly you’re attacked? Or what happens if you’re afraid?

Your job is to be tough on yourself. Not unforgiving. Not mean to your own feelings. Just putting more of a challenge on yourself than other people, because you are the only person you can affect.

And then be tender with others. Surprise them. Forgive them. Cut them slack. Be prepared to have a little extra in case they need it. Because you have to decide if you want to win once or twice, or if you want to live with a winning spirit.

You can conquer people, but you can’t make them like it. But if you conquer your own fears while showing mercy to others for theirs, you will always be loved and valuable.

Stay tough on yourself. Be tender with others. Without this, you’re just waiting for the next fight.”

The grandson looked at G-Pop and nodded his head. It wasn’t clear whether he understood everything.

But it appeared he understood enough.

Published by Jonathan Cring