(Strip Number 4597, Original Publication Date, 8 April 1986)
Panel 1: After Mike flat out tells Phil that he feels as if he can never keep up, the goof with the ridiculous scrub bush mustache tells Mike that no one ever got anywhere by quitting at the first rough patch.
Panel 2: He then tells him that he has to face challenges head on, attack them and be ready for the next challenge.
Panel 3: He then asks him how he thinks that the masters became masters and the great became great.
Panel 4: When Mike asks him that he'd rather be mediocre and happy, the wind goes out of Phil's sails.
Summary: The problem is that Phil really doesn't understand kids all that well at this point in his life. It takes a very 'special' man to not realize leading off with something a kid is going to take to mean "Here's proof that you'll never succeed, loser!!" is a bad idea and Phil's lack of awareness that a child isn't a tiny adult makes him a rather poor teacher.