Hand planting a young cucumber plant in the garden

As a teenager I listened to a classmate play the piano and I was absolutely amazed at his ability to dance his fingers across the keys like a concert virtuoso. He could listen to any song from Elton John to Floyd Cramer (listen to “Last Date” and you will understand) and play it perfectly by ear. I innocently said to him, “Man, I wish I could play the piano like you!” He paused and turned on his bench and replied, “no you don’t. If you wanted to, you could play, maybe not by ear, but you could be good. You like sports, and the river, and friends, and girls, and that is what you do while I play piano. You don’t really want to play like me.” OUCH! His words from 1976 still reverberate in my memory and continue to provide wisdom.

It is easy to look at Tiger Woods and dream of what life would be like as a billionaire that travels the world and makes money playing a game with sticks, spheres and holes. However, was it easy for Tiger when his friends were riding bikes and playing video games while he was smacking golf balls? Was discipline required when buddies wanted to goof off all weekend while he spent hour after hour on practice tees and greens? One might argue that his life was overdeveloped and he paid some large personal consequences, but one cannot argue that perseverance undoubtedly bred prosperity.

Perseverance is a prerequisite for prosperity even if one rides on the perseveres’ coattails. I often tell my children, “you don’t get to be me right now!” because where I find myself has come with a cost they have not yet paid. Perseverance is a synonym for grit. Grit is the greatest leveler in the world. People of grit achieve the most in spite of not being the most popular, wealthy, gifted or intelligent.

“Grit is living life like it is a marathon,

not a sprint.”

– Angela Duckworth

Perseverance and grit come from a growth mindset – the belief that you may not be there but you are going to arrive in the future. It is a decision that one is only limited by their own determinations and drive. If you want to learn more about growth mindset, look at the excellent works of Carol Dweck. In order to move from perseverance to prosperity, one needs to have relentless optimism. That optimism will inspire an individual to continually move toward success and not get bogged down in disappointments and set-backs. In instances of set-backs, optimism will give rise to resilience and a can-do attitude.

Ok, so “What up Mr. Cupp?” Here is the deal. In 2022 we have all experienced victories and losses. We have, as individuals and as teams, moved the bar forward and watched it creep backwards at times. However, if you look from January through December 2022, you will find personal, positive movement, improvement and success! Your tenacity, grit, positivity and hope have moved CK Family Services forward toward our dreams. It is a lot like losing weight – one can get depressed because they did not reach the 20-pound goal or be excited about losing 18 and look forward to next year’s success! Take a look at your body of work in 2022. Analyze your good and bad decisions. Reflect on how your goals, dreams, passions and discipline came together to create success.

Take an optimistic look at how perseverance has led to prosperity

and carry that hope into 2023.

If we persevere, as a team we will experience policies that produce good as well as bad. Through it all, one thing will remain the same – children and families will need help and we will be here, providing support and experiencing prosperity.

Years ago, my two oldest daughters were snooping around in our garage and they came to me with an article they had found. I’m not sure why two teenagers would read a random article but they wanted me to read it as well. I perused the article and was impressed. I said, “That is pretty good. I wonder who wrote it?” They laughed and said, “You did!” I had absolutely no memory of penning the words and asked where they found it. They took me to a file cabinet that was absolutely stuffed with papers and articles I had written in my academic and professional career. If one had told me I would have to fill that file cabinet up (and another one) with papers and articles in order to succeed, I might not have started. However, day after day, week after week, semester after semester and year after year, the cabinets were filled. 

Keep it up! Don’t quit. Take a look at 2022 and reflect, learn, keep and throw away. Celebrate where you have come and press on. Perseverance is leading to prosperity – believe it!