April 10, 2021

Aiming For Zero

The other day, my college early-childhood/early-elementary senior education major had a sub job at a school not far from her campus. She’d already met all of her substitute teaching requirements for her major: she was only doing the job to get her last few required observation hours.

On account of Covid and the fact that observing anything in person had become a hundred times trickier, I’d joked to her that she’d been trying to accumulate those hours since fifth grade.

“Feels like it," she told me.

The morning of her job, when I sent her a text to encourage her for the day, I told her, "You're on your way to zero!"

Normally, in our family, we are big on better than zero: aiming for anything more than a flat-out goose egg. But I told my daughter that, in this case, achieving the day’s goal would be even better than better than zero.

Which got me to thinking that there are some other things in life I'm aiming for zero on.

Zero days when my family goes to bed at night not having felt loved during the day.

Zero words from me that create a wound that never quite heals up.

Zero unforgiveness I think is making someone else sorry for what they did but is, in fact, only making me my own prisoner.

Zero chances to show love that I don’t take.

Zero would’ve, could’ve, or should’ve when I’m going after a good goal whose outcome I cannot control but whose input I can.

Zero settling for lukewarm faith.

Zero assumptions another day on this earth is guaranteed to me.

Zero taking my health for granted.

Zero missed opportunities to encourage someone or make their life a little easier.

Of course, “aiming” is the crux of the matter here. I’m going to miss on these sometimes...more than likely, a LOT of times. I’m going to hit one or 100.

But a wise friend of mine says, “If you aim at nothing, you’re sure to hit it.” I’m not really aiming at nothing here. I’m aiming at something that looks like zero, but would, in fact, be everything.


  1. i think I will try to aim low also. Such wise words to live by. I want always to be a blessing to someone each day. My new song is "Make me a Blessing"

    1. Mama, you ARE a blessings....over and over...to me and so many others. I think you already hit zero on missing chances to do this. I love you!

  2. I'm shooting for zero times I neglect to tell my chocolate-loving friend that I think she's swell when I read her wisdom! <3


I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to tell me what you really think. Years ago, I explained to my then-two-year-old that my appointment with a counselor was "sort of like going to a doctor who will help me be a better mommy." Without blinking, she replied, "You'd better go every day." All of which is just to say I've spent some time in the school of brutal honesty!