Friday, February 8, 2019

Be a father to the fatherless!

Had an insightful conversation with a good friend who helps out with our tutoring program. He had recently gotten a new contract job to create online math programs for At Risk Youth. As we chatted his excellent point was that the real needs with these kids and teens is to have real life interaction with adults. His broader assessment was that the lack of dads in the lives of these youth was a clear reason for their struggles in understanding life and being capable of reading and doing math. 

What made this conversation so insightful was the fact that my good friend had spent an hour playing chess with one of our kids who struggles in life, doesn’t have a dad and is the kid that is always bullied in school. He does have an incredible mom who is trying so hard to be all to him. The amazing picture was seeing this little guy play chess for an hour with utmost determination. My friend also echoed this fact as we considered what has to happen for our little friend to make it in life. 

As I reflected on our tutoring with around 30 kids and teens it touched me that there were three older gentlemen who chose to take an evening to hang out with our kids and teens. I had one friend, who is a PHD in Physics, sit with a group of young kids being creative on an iPad. He was excited to have one of our gals, Bunny, show him the mechanics of using Procreate. 

Another, friend, Dan was having a blast lining up a large number of little blocks that ultimately would become a long chain reaction with a group of kids. I know that one of the younger little brothers was being annoying because of his tendency to prematurely knock over the blocks. I was energized by the team work of this group as they sought to line everything up for the grand finale. 

I loved watching a young gal who is a recent college grad sit with a group of teens and interact in such an incredible fashion. It was if Morgan was the bigger sister with all of these gals. The bigger picture, even as I met with a friend who is a new mom, college student and seeking support was that the impact of investing an hour of your time is priceless. 

What made me who I’m today is having an incredible mom and dad, who walked with me through the normal ups and downs in life. Can’t fathom life without them, yet, a majority of the kids, teens and single moms I’m around are less fortunate. 

Please consider being like a mom and dad to kids and teens in difficult life circumstances. 

Friday, February 1, 2019

Is it possible for a backup to be a winner?

It’s amazing how life too often is always about being number 1 and talking about coming in second or losing is seldom a thought. I think it’s rather fascinating to realize that some of the more amazing quarterbacks in NFL history were backups that had their opportunity and took advantage and made history. 

I know that Arizona fans will always brag about a rather humble man, Kurt Warner, who didn’t have a great beginning. I know that even attempting to get one of my teens to bag groceries at Fry’s or Food City is most likely a BIG NO. Yet, as you study the real-life story of the Warmers, you see a couple that are passionate about life, committed Christians who made the best of any situation. The Rams took a chance with this unknown QB, who led the team to a 13-3 season and to a 23-16 win against the Titans in the Big Game. 

I know that having the Patriots back in the Super Bowl is difficult for lots of ‘haters’ that can’t stand Tom Brady or Coach Belichick. Yet, the demise of Drew Bledsoe meant that an unknown, Tom Brady, was given an opportunity to step up with a 11-3 record and a 20-17 win against the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI. 

As I read through the gospels and see the backup role of John the Baptist, it should be a surprise that here is a man who was willing to be number 2 all the way. Here’s an incredible story of someone whose life was to point to another and ultimately be in the background. John was a rather humble man who spoke the truth about the downside of being a narcissist, religious elitist or domineering ruler. John gave his life for Jesus and his followers to show that life is more than being perceived as number 1. The reality for John is that he understood the importance of preparing the way for the ONE who is the Way, the Truth and the Life!

What happens when your dream of being number 1 isn’t ever going to take place? Is it possible to see that being number 2 or even last and doing your best is what makes life special? 

Regardless of who wins the big game on Sunday there will be an opportunity for an unknown player to step up and show that the world is totally full of backups that can be winners! Or more importantly, there are even more backups that are never given the opportunity to play and have to choose to make their life count even in the shadow of a Brady or Warner.