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Completely Useless

Here’s the most embarrassing thing I can tell you about myself:

I am the best foosball player I know.

Foosball table

That’s right. You heard me. I do not personally know anyone who could best me at maneuvering a plastic soccer ball using only 11 armless men impaled by a steel rod. I developed this skill when I was 17.

In October of my senior year of high school, a friend and I found two old, broken foosball tables that were being thrown away and pieced them together into one working set. It’s a good thing that we kept the left over plastic men because our varsity basketball team played on that table so much throughout the course of the school year that we had to replace over half of the men. As a 17 year old I spent countless hours honing my ability to pass off the walls, fake shots, hit angles, defend every possible play from specific positions, and play equally well with either hand from any position.

I can’t count the number of times that skill has been valuable to me, but I can ballpark it around…

ZERO

My foosball ability is embarrassing because I now recognize what it represents—the fact that most hobbies require learning very specific skills and I chose a completely useless one.

If I had that year to live over I would not be the best foosball player. Instead I would possess the following skills:

  • Type correctly with my hands in the right position
  • Play the guitar
  • Play the piano
  • Speak a language other than English

Each of those skills have been developed by millions of young people because they chose to enjoy hobbies that allowed them to learn a useful skill. These realizations have changed my outlook on my responsibility to the next generation. I’m not sure my goals as a parent and educator have changed, but I am expressing them differently after wrapping my head around the ideas in these two posts.

I wrote this one about a year ago:

God Doesn’t Use Ordinary People

Marc Neppl wrote this one in October:

What I Wish Is Knew in College

I state my goals this way now:

I want those I am responsible for educating to love God and develop every ability He gave them into a useful skill that He will allow them to exercise.

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