For What It’s Worth

Kids teach a lesson

I appreciate the wisdom available from people older than I am or who are far more experienced in areas in which I need advice or guidance. If we are honest, most of us would acknowledge that we would expect our life lessons most likely to come from older, more experienced people.

But not always. Sometimes youth can teach us in a special way.

A few days ago my daughter Donna sent me an email listing a site for a video she thought I might appreciate. I checked it out and found a story that was quite moving. In this day in which bullying has become such a common part of our society, here was a story about a group of youth—believe it or not, football players—performing a special act of kindness and encouragement for a special needs classmate.

In Olivet, MI, members of the middle school football team, led by their quarterback, devised a plan to do something extraordinary for Keith, a special needs classmate they loved and accepted as a member of the team. They came up with the plan without the knowledge of their coach.

Keith, who loves to dispense hugs to his classmates and generally dispense cheerfulness, would never be expected to play in a game. Certainly, he would never know the thrill of scoring a touchdown.

But his teammates decided he should have that honor and experience. They decided to set up the opportunity, even if it meant deliberately not scoring when an opportunity arose. Recently, that opportunity came about. One step from a touchdown, the Olivet Eagles ball carrier dropped to a knee, going down instead of scoring a TD. Then, they brought Keith into the game as a back. The quarterback handed the ball to him, and Keith, surrounded by three others in the backfield, ran forward into the end zone.

Touchdown! Olivet Eagles. Touchdown! Keith, something he could have believed would be a reality.

In the stands, his parents were astonished. They hadn’t been informed about the plan and were totally surprised.

In an interview, a wide receiver on the team had tears streaming down his cheeks as he acknowledged that he would never have thought of doing such a thing, but he was so glad to have participated. He said he learned so much about being kind to others from the experience.

What an awesome contrast to the dancing and prancing, showboating, and ego-boosting, look-at-me antics by so many college and professional players. Or, the bullying of classmates we too often read about in the news.

If you want a boost to your day, here’s the link to watch the story for yourself:

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6 Responses to For What It’s Worth

  1. Donna says:

    Good point to contrast this situation with the more common ones of gloating after scoring.

    • Harry Hix says:

      Realize that I am so old that I remember when the Dead Sea got sick, but when I was on the 8th grade football team our coach would have benched us immediately for any antics similar to what is commonly seen today. It would have been considered poor sportsmanship.

  2. Marla Shaw says:

    This was a moving story and a moving video. I think it changed the boys’ hearts more than it did Keith’s. That’s what happens when we serve the Lord, isn’t it? He changes us when we think we’re doing something for someone else. Thanks for the good work. I couldn’t wait to send it to Emily and Evan. Take care.

  3. Now this is exciting sports. When I first read it, tears came to my eyes, and that doesn’t happen very often. I think one reason I really don’t like sports is the maltreatment I received my freshman year in high school when I was one of three freshmen, all short and overweight, who were accidentally put into the 6th hour varsity gym class. I don’t know about the others, but mine included sexual assault (not rape, just assault). My opinion of athletes remains very low. But these 8th graders! Wow!

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