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February 21, 2022
My sixth grade son just finished his first middle school basketball season. Our kids attend a small christian school, and the Jr. High team includes grades sixth thru eighth as one team. They play in a league with other Christian schools.
The kids throughout the league are really terrific. Sportsmanship and respect is displayed at a very high level… For the most part.
My son’s team made it to the Championship game and faced the number one seed. They actually split with this team in the regular season, upsetting them in a most recent game at the regular season’s end.
And although I clearly expected what this team would do, our team was shell-shocked. This team was out for blood. Pressing from the tip-off. Flying all around, creating chaos, being extremely physical. As I would refer to it back in the day, they were playing street ball. Straight up. Lots of extra pushes, elbows, cheap shots, and trash talking.
The referees were of no help and even seemed to have an obvious bias towards not seeing things as they were. Our team had 10 fouls called on them in the first three minutes of the first quarter. The other team had two.
Our kids appeared intimidated and didn’t know how to respond.
The fact is, our kids, as terrific as they are, are soft. They haven’t been put through situations like they were facing and that is a mistake. They were unprepared. They hadn’t been exposed to unkind forces.
It was terribly frustrating to witness. And sad to see. Unfortunately, in today’s world, we are seeing more and more of this in youth and young adults that have been raised in the ways that “everyone gets a trophy” for showing up. WIth parents offering words like…
“Oh it’s okay Johnny. It’s not your fault. Those kids were just bullies. You were great and did the best you could. Besides, the refs were horrible, and those kids shouldn’t be allowed to play that way.”
This is where I say - Don’t be afraid of your mistakes. Be very afraid of your excuses.
And before anyone gets their britches in a bunch, do know this is not intended to be critical of any one team or a specific person. I do believe and value the teaching of the fruit of the spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness and self-control. The fruits of the Spirit demonstrate the character of a life submitted to God.
However, that doesn’t mean toughness is not a most important attribute too. Toughness doesn’t come easy. Resistance is needed to build it. And it certainly doesn’t happen on a well manicured and paved path.
Hence, the famous wisdom that states, “Prepare the child for the path, NOT the path for the child.”
Here’s a few more points to my personal therapy session and the reasons I’m sharing this with you.
Here at Dulci Sweets, God, Family, Country, and Community are the core values. Our mission is to encourage and celebrate hard work, dedication, and performing to our full capacity. To highlight the virtues of preparation, personal responsibility, sacrifice, courage, persistence, and toughness.
Seek CHALLENGE. Embrace Resistance. Do not Run from it as if it can only be evil.
Resistance is absolutely necessary to build strength and toughness.
Strength in body, mind, and spirit.
And that my friends, parents, coaches, leaders, colleagues is very Good and Honorable. Something we must not ever lose sight of in all that we do and how we do it.
Let’s Build Champions,
P.S. If you see someone facing adversity, or someone that has overcome it, consider sending them a gift from Dulci Sweets with a personalized message to encourage and/or celebrate their effort. I promise it will mean more to them than you may ever know.
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