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Resolutions for the Mind, not the Ego

Dr. Randy Watts
When we moved into our house in Thomasville, we inherited an aging refrigerator with an external ice dispenser. The ice dispenser worked only upon occasion, delivering one or two cubes as a consolation—always missing the cup underneath—and yielding a loud electronic whine in the process until eventually, all it did was whine unceasingly without producing a single cube.
When we moved into our house in Thomasville, we inherited an aging refrigerator with an external ice dispenser. The ice dispenser worked only upon occasion, delivering one or two cubes as a consolation—always missing the cup underneath—and yielding a loud electronic whine in the process until eventually, all it did was whine unceasingly without producing a single cube.

We called a professional, who took the fridge apart and replaced the motherboard (fridges have motherboards?). It whirred to life for a brief moment and then died with a pop of smoke and a dramatic shudder. “Time for y’all to go shopping,” the repairman exclaimed.
I’m of the mind that the ice dispenser sabotaged the whole fridge. I’ve never liked ice dispensers on refrigerators anyway, because in my experience, they never do what they claim they will do. They are mechanisms of too much promise and very little delivery.

When my wife went off to look for a replacement, I cautioned her against getting one that had an ice dispenser. “They never work,” I said. We see eye-to-eye on most matters. However, to my chagrin, what appeared in our kitchen several days later was a stainless steel monolith with an ice and water dispenser featured prominently on the left-hand door.

This is the flashiest ice dispenser that I have ever seen. It allows you to have a selection of ices, can provide light during power outages (and for after you’ve run into every wall from the bedroom to the kitchen in the middle of the night), and even displays the amount of water delivered in ounces and fractions of cups so that you and your European friends can drink water free from the fetters of metric system conversions.

Even still, like its predecessor, this cutting edge piece of kitchen technology doesn’t deliver the convenience it promises. It looks fancy, but that hasn’t kept me from having to wipe up water and chase errant cubes across the kitchen floor.

I spoke recently with Coach Shawn Jones who, as some of you know, has been working with our Strength and Conditioning classes as well as with Middle School PE this winter. He made the comment to me that when he works with athletes, he tells them: “train your body, not your ego.”

We can all picture that guy in the gym who spends more time looking in the mirror and giving unsolicited advice to fellow weight lifers than actually working out. I would argue that his personal goals have become like the ice dispenser that threatens to sabotage the whole fridge, as he himself has become a mechanism of too much promise and very little delivery.

When I shared these thoughts with Middle and Upper School students, I encouraged them to set personal goals that truly helped them grow, rather than selecting goals for the sake of appearance. For academic purposes, I asked them to add to Jones’ phase: “train your mind, not your ego.”

In the long run, it has been my experience that students who develop and fuel their own passions and give focus to their activities will prevail over those who jump around from activity to activity in order to have the longest resume for a college application.
I’ll repeat: Train your mind. Not your ego.

 *On a side note, I look forward to meeting the Brookwood graduate, having benefited from our STEM education, who designs a truly well-functioning refrigerator ice dispenser.
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Located in Thomasville, GA, Brookwood School is a private school for grades JK-12. Students benefit from a challenging academic program, fine and performing arts, competitive athletics, and a wide selection of extracurricular activities.