the end is near
March 1, 2009 4 Comments
I met two very interesting people while I was attending two very different events.
The first interesting person I met was while I was at Super Bowl XLIII. It was actually the night before the Super Bowl XLIII, but I had to say somewhere in this blog that I went to Super Bowl XLIII without sounding like I was showing off. A group of us were hanging out at Ybor City. Ybor city is a street in Tampa that people, young and old, visit that are looking for big crowds, loud music, and adult beverages. There are about 20 nightclubs and bars and a handful of restaurants, none of which would get a blessing from your pastor or Dr. Atkins.
As you can imagine, the Saturday before the Super Bowl pushed the standard holding capacity of this street to its maximum. To put it in layman’s terms, it was a sea of Pittsburgh black and yellow with hints of Arizona red and more beer that I have ever seen readily available for human consumption in one place (At least since I visited the Fort Myers Budweiser plant).
Enter: interesting person number one.
Picture a group of folks, holding large religious picket signs, standing on the side of the road screaming through megaphones into the crowd of sports fans…
The Bible says… blah blah blah!
You are a sinner… blah blah blah!
Repent or… blah blah blah!
The end is near… blah blah blah!
I watched the interaction of anyone that could hear this guy, on and off, for about an hour. I assume that the description of the crowd’s actions would come as no surprise to most of you. Let’s just say that it was more entertainment than enlightenment for the Ybor inhabitants.
There’s a little more to this part of the story, but that’s for an entirely different blog subject. I will tell you; however, that there was no evidence that led me to believe that anyone witnessing his display was changed in any positive way whatsoever.
In Fort Lauderdale Florida a few weeks later, I was providing moral support for “Super Wife” as she ran in the A1A Marathon. I was a volunteer. So I helped out for most of the race at hydration tables and towards the end I used my “all access volunteer shirt” to ride beside “SW” and witness her incredible accomplishment. But that too, is another blog.
Enter: interesting person number two
This person was a woman that ended up behind my wife for the last part of the race. She was holding up a sign that said 4:30. What I learned that day is, in marathons, they have human pace cars. These are people that run in perfect timing holding little sticks with numbers on them to help people keep pace during their race. My wife started out with the 4:15 pace person, fell behind after 16 miles, but was still well ahead of her personal record of 4:30.
Then the drama came at about mile 24.
Ms. 4:30 Sign Holder kept getting closer and closer until she was merely steps behind “SW”. And that’s where something amazing happened. Through her experience, she quickly realized what my wife was trying to accomplish. And she joined with me to help motivate her, cheer her on, and speak encouraging words to her…
You can do it!
You are not alone!
The end is near!
My wife was in agony. I was almost in tears as I prayed that she would have the strength to finish. She worked so hard, for so long, and was less than a few miles from utter disappointment or complete fulfillment. I will tell you, because I was there to see it, if it wasn’t for that woman carrying that sign, my wife would have never finished at a time of 4:29:58 and beat the goal that she set out to accomplish. If it wasn’t for that woman, her experience would’ve been changed to the polar opposite of the joy she feels today for believing in a stranger behind her carrying a stick.
So what’s the difference between these two sign holders and how can their examples teach me how to be a better parent to my children?
I’m glad I asked…
You see, the first person stood on the sidelines, screamed and yelled into a crowd of “not good enoughs” (according to him). He judged, he corrected, he condemned, and he got nowhere. I am certain that his intentions were good, but his impact was horrible. No one was changed for the better. No relationships were started. No trust was gained. There was no victory.
This person’s doom and gloom approach emitted feeling of “darkness”; and who the heck wants to walk into that?
The second person, however, was a picture of what it means to be a parent. After all, a parent isn’t someone that simply barks out loud orders and unrealistic demands and hurtful blah blah blahs. A parent is someone that gets off their butt and does life WITH their kids. A parent is someone that shows their children what life LOOKS LIKE. A parent is someone that experiences successes and failures WITH their children.
This second person’s positive approach gave off a certain feeling of “light”; and who wouldn’t want to run into THAT?
Think about those two sign carrying folks the next time your child needs help. Think about these two sign carrying folks the next time your child encounters a struggle. Think about these two sign carrying folks the next time the child needs direction. Think about what sign you pick up when you address your children about your perspective on what they’re doing.
Be sure to run WITH your kids! Remember, a little encouragement may give them the strength to achieve something that will help shape them for the rest of their lives. Your challenge, if you choose to accept it, can be the most fulfilling thing YOU will ever accomplish.
And on the days that you don’t feel like you have the strength to do your part as a parent to your children, remember the words of the Original Sign Toting Ray of Light that is “mysteriously” there right when you needed Him the most…
You can do it!
You are not alone!
The end is near!