Hoops And How to Change the World

I have the privilege of coaching an in-town 5th grade basketball team. We have a losing record…a very large losing record…1-4. The kids are brilliant. They all play their hearts out, fighting through new skills, bodies that don’t quite do what they want and a level of mental challenge that is more common than not these days. They are an admiration for me, because, despite losing for four weeks in a row, despite struggling through my own poor efforts, they love to play and they keep coming when many of us would have simply given up.

So, on our 5th week, something happened. They played their hearts out as always, but this time…they won. I can’t tell you why. I didn’t do anything differently. There wasn’t some magic word or special technique we learned. They played well, and more balls went in for us than the other team.

But that’s not the focus of this blog. It’s what happened afterwards, that caught my attention. While saying goodbye to parents, one boy had to wait for his mom. She had to make that terrible choice we all hate to make as parents…the choice between one child’s game and another child’s game when they fall at the same time. She had dropped off her son with me for the game and quickly ran her other child to the next game, only to turn around and come back to collect the first. You know the drill if you’re a parent. It’s terrible.

Well, when she returned, her son, who had played a brilliant game and scored a number of points, came to me and said,

“Coach, can you tell my mom how well I played and how I scored?”

…read that again…

The boy had played well, and all he wanted was for his mom to know and to hear his coach say it. He wanted encouragement.

He wanted support.
He wanted praise.
He wanted love.

As we all do!

So, here’s what I’ve been thinking since that happened. What would the world look like if we all received and gave the same level of encouragement and support that young boy so clearly wanted? What would we feel like if people openly and regularly praised us for our efforts? What would we look like if we felt the love we so clearly want?

I think the world would be a radically different place.

So imagine for a moment, if your day tomorrow consisted of looking to praise people and encourage people for their efforts. Imagine, if throughout the day you received praise and encouragement. What would that look and feel like for you?

Currently, at our church we are doing a series on whole life generosity – using all of who we are to give to God and others. Our small groups meet to discuss this and search for ways to put it into practice. Here’s my encouragement to you as a small group leader: your group is a place where people can be encouraged, supported, praised and loved. In fact, for many people, it is exactly the place they come to to receive that sort of help in their lives.

So, let’s be generous and use our words and bodies to express encouragement, support, praise and love for others.

Let’s try it…

…with each person we meet
…in each five minute segment of the day (and if you miss one, just focus on the next one).
…in each meeting
…in our homes
…in our small groups
…in our churches,
…in our communities
…with your friends
…with your kids
…with your spouse
…and even with strangers

Imagine what the world might look like if we all got it right for just one day. This week we celebrated Martin Luther King, and we have seen and heard the famous phrase, “I have a dream…” I don’t think imagining a day of encouragement is too far off his dream, where everyone, regardless of their past or present, can be encouraged about their future.

That’s what I learned¬†about Hoops and How to Change the World this week.

Dorian Botsis

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