The Dream Team!
One of the joys of being the President of The Children’s Home is that you get to observe the results of others work. When your product is raising kids, there are no tests to pass or timelines to evaluate. The results have to be extracted from life experiences. This past week I was able to review some life results.
The evaluation came in the form of Flag Football. It was a double header, back-to-back games on a cool, windy Saturday morning. The first thing I noticed was that the teams our boys played were filled with mostly 24-year-old men in their athletic prime. Our boys range in age from 14 to 18 with most of them around the age of 16. Our boys are still learning to run and think at the same time (a visual that looks like a fight of knees and elbows versus wire hangers). Secondly, the teams they played looked like they practice every day in between online job hunts. In contrast, our boys attend school all day, do chores and homework in their spare evening time which leaves only enough time to draw plays in the dirt between each series. These are just side observations to the most discernable difference between teams.
The most unmistakable quality between the teams was their response to each other between plays. Our boy’s opponents hit the ground, cursed, rode each other and found blame. They didn’t celebrate success but rather assigned blame with each mistake. If you had watched the game with the sound turned off and not kept score in your mind, you would have assumed that the older ones had lost. Our boys celebrated each small victory, took the blame quickly and forgave mistakes immediately. They laughed when fate bounced their way and encouraged each other when the game seemed insurmountable. Any bystander would have assumed they were the victors.
What became clear in those 90 minutes of watching our boys lose a flag football game was that they were more acutely aware of winning than their victorious opponents. Their life has taught them that being on a team (family) is more important than winning as an individual. Learning to laugh at yourself is more valuable than never making mistakes. Encouragement breathes life into situations while criticism steals. They played the game knowing that getting to spend a Saturday morning outside with other boys that feel like brothers is the win, not the score on the board.
As I look back on that morning, I couldn’t tell you the score of either game. However, I can tell you that if I were asked to play on a team, my choice would have been easy. I would have chosen our boys because they are winners.