Monday, May 18, 2015
Living In Yes With the Team
I witnessed something awesome (Yes, only God is awesome, but so is something He is in) and inspiring yesterday. We belong to a tiny, country fellowship of believers. On a Sunday morning when the house is full we can maybe muster a count of fifty people. We are small and sometimes we feel rather insignificant. When we have troubles or triumphs it hardly registers with anyone of any importance in the larger scheme of church-ianity. We are pretty much just us. Nothing to hide. Nothing to brag about, either.
Yesterday afternoon, one of our families whose children participate in RISE, a national organization of Bible memorizing/quizzer groups, hosted a quizzing at our church. They brought in as many of the local quizzers and parents that they could and set up right across the front of the chapel. We had fourteen chairs equipped with sensors that made lights on the quiz master's computer. Without going into detail and trying to explain how it works, I would like to give you a feel for what happens during a timed quiz. Fourteen children ages 11 to 16 sat in a row across the front facing our little congregation. They have been memorizing the book of Acts for a year now. These kids know their stuff. The quiz master says a reference and begins to ask a question and they are jumping off their chairs immediately. The computer before the master lights up when they jump; so he stops and calls on the first light that came up to finish the question and answer it or quote depending on which he has asked for. They told us afterward that at nationals the other week in Pittsburgh the quizzing went much faster than yesterday's quizzing. But I'm telling you, there was no slouching here, either. I would challenge any of you to know a book or even one chapter of the Bible well enough to be able to quote at random a verse or a phrase of it word perfect under this kind of pressure. They have been spending hours every day memorizing and studying knowing full well what's ahead in a timed quiz. This is not for the lackadaisical.
The master puts up the reference and picks the first jumper to go ahead. Quizzers don't stand still. These children will make great music directors: flailing arms, bending bodies, raised arms, snapping fingers, etc. They think, by moving. And they give correct answers, or trial answers, or they sit back down saying, "I don't know." Mostly they DO know.
I haven't gotten to what I wanted to say yet. Here it is. The teamwork is amazing. Not once did I hear them give a negative groan at a teammate's wrong answer even though it costs the whole team when someone flubs. Instead they say, "Good try!" affirming them. When there's a correct quote or answer everyone is cheering and "fiving". It was inspiring. These fourteen children know each other very well. They represent several different families from several different types of churches. Yet their parents/coaches and quiz masters have formed this tight team that knows how to BE a team in every sense of the word.
I am inspired to always affirm and encourage even the smallest attempt at right answers. I want to change to the point of having the mind of Christ with my team no matter how badly one of us goofs it up. I want us, all fifty of us, to figure this out. I want these words to come from my lips as readily as those children's yesterday: "Good job!" and "Good try" over and over on every occasion.
You can do this thing! Those words should be offered from us moms and dads to our children often. Amy was honest enough with me last week to tell me how much those words mean to her. Verbal affirmation is empowering and freeing. Children who hear, "Good job" often, more readily live in the room of victory in their personal lives.