Why Voting Matters

Handgun over USA flag - studio shoot

I recently had some great conversations with a few young adults.  The conversation turned to the requirement in high school to take government class.  They seemed to think the class was a waste of their time.  They also recently turned 18 and I reminded them that they get the privilege to vote.  They had neither registered nor planned to.

Continue reading “Why Voting Matters”

Why Voting Matters

Handgun over USA flag - studio shoot

I recently had some great conversations with a few young adults.  The conversation turned to the requirement in high school to take government class.  They seemed to think the class was a waste of their time.  They also recently turned 18 and I reminded them that they get the privilege to vote.  They had neither registered nor planned to.

Continue reading “Why Voting Matters”

Lessons from a Kid Picked Last

Youth football player

It was nearly 29 years ago to the day at my high-school football banquet.  The coach – Coach Buckel – went through each player on the team and shared some glowing remarks about each of them.  Anticipating the shower of compliments with both of my divorced parents in the room he got to the very last player and…and…nothing.  He skipped right over me! I shrunk down into my seat hoping the earth would swallow me up. My friends spoke up and told the coach he forgot about me.  So he sheepishly brought me up and made up a few words and quickly moved on. Now I wasn’t his star player for sure, but I never missed a practice and regularly took beatings at the hands of the first team all year.

Thirty years later, I’ve learned a few things about life. I know what it means to be picked last.  I’ve learned how to overcome life’s little injustices.  Here are some insights for you if you’ve ever been forgotten, overlooked, or picked last.

  1. Realize not all gifts are handed out equally.  This is the cold, hard reality.  Some people will excel at things you struggle with.  Some have great athletic ability.  Some excel at music and theater.  Some can sing like birds and run like deer.  Some people can do all of them!  We cannot control the gifts God gave us, but we can control what we do with them. While on the football field, I couldn’t run as fast as others nor could I generate the force of someone twice my size.  It is what it is.
  1. Find what you’re good at.  While gifts are not handed out equally, you did get some natural ability.  Part of the fun of life is searching for these seeds of greatness.  What types of things come easier to you than your peers?  Where do find endurance with joy?  When others want to quit, you want to keep going.  What things do you enjoy reading about? What interests do you have?  What gifts do others see in you that you may not even notice?  I may not have been a great football player, but I could fly an airplane soon after I received my driver’s license.  It wasn’t long and I was taking my friends up into my world.
  1. Work harder than your peers.  Those players on the team that the coach didn’t forget worked all year on their strength and their skills.  I didn’t.  I procrastinated and didn’t get everything I could have from my talent.  Champions are made in the off season.  You’re gifts do not come to you fully developed.  You must put in the time to see them blossom.  Experts tell us that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at something.  I don’t think it takes that long to blossom a gift, but you get the point.  There is no shortcut to anyplace worth going.  No matter your talent, you must endure being bad at something long enough to be good at it.
  1. Your value is not rooted in your performance.  When I stunk at football, it didn’t make me less of a person.  It didn’t make me less valuable as a human (a team-mate maybe, but not a person).  Your value is rooted in the fact that God created you and invested his glory and image in you.  He purchased and redeemed you at the cost of His son on a Roman cross.  You carry the value of Christ, regardless of your performance.  This truth liberates you to try and sometimes fail at different things.  When picked last, you can simply admit, “I’m not so good at this game, I’ll do my best and keep a positive attitude throughout the experience.”  There will be a time when your talent will save the day. Perhaps it is not this day, but your value doesn’t hinge on your performance.
  1. Be a good cheerleader and find a way to serve.  When my daughter’s first grade class built a float for our city parade, each parent needed to help.  I showed up ready to contribute, but a number of alpha males with their cordless drills and nail guns took over.  Building things was their thing.  Me, not so much.  Not picked again.  After a few minutes, I realized the team didn’t need another person building.  I stepped back and looked for another way to serve.  I slipped away (no one noticed) and bought some pizza and drinks.  Everyone appreciated my contribution.  Instead of sulking when picked last, be a good cheerleader and find a way to serve.  Jesus told us the path to greatness runs through servant hood.

Life will present many opportunities for you to forgotten and left out.  How you handle these situations will make a great difference in the trajectory of your life.  You can grow bitter or better.  Find your gifts, grow them, work hard, serve and cheer others, and you will find a lot of people will want you for their team!