By Joyce Suttin
During the spring of my junior year in high school, some girls suggested we practice for the junior-senior basketball game, and I thought it might be fun, so I tagged along. I did poorly in practice, more focused on my friends than on the game; but despite getting on the nerves of some of the more competitive players, I decided that I would go through with what was going to be my one and only basketball game.
Throughout the match, the seniors consistently held the lead, while my teammates were struggling. I had passed the ball a couple of times like a hot potato, happy to get it out of my hands as quickly as possible. Until…
We were two points behind with seconds left in the game when one of my friends managed to intercept the ball. She tossed it as far as she could, and I realized with dismay that it was coming straight at me. I caught it easily, but now what? None of my teammates were near the basket.
I must have appeared frozen in time, uncertain of what to do, when I saw the face of Stan, one of the athletic boys in my class, sitting in the front row in the crowd. He called out, “Just shoot the ball! You can do it!”
I remember looking at the basket from my place at half court, taking aim, and shooting with all my might. What happened next is somewhat hazy. Somehow the ball miraculously swooshed into the basket at the last second, and we won the game!
As everyone crowded around me during my moment of glory, my eyes searched the crowd for Stan. He finally came up to congratulate me, and I said, “Thanks, Stan, for showing confidence in me when I needed it. You were the one who thought I could do it, and I did.”
We all need someone who spurs us on when the faces in the crowd are a blur, when the voices seem unintelligible, and our steps falter—someone like Stan to tell us to go for it when we are hesitant and unsure, to boost our confidence to try the impossible, to say “I know you can do it!”
Your children need to see that you want them to achieve, and that you believe that they can achieve. In their times of despair or heartbreak, they need you to show them that they can pick up the broken pieces and start again. They need to know that no matter how hard they may have fallen, or how many times they may have failed, they can stand up again. They need to know that they are winners, they are champions, and that you believe in them.
There are many examples in history of people who did great things, became someone great, discovered something unknown, invented something ingenious, wrote something creative, sang something beautiful, inspired others, or helped to make the world a better place through their efforts—in great part due to the faith that someone had in them.
The strength of faith and the belief that others had in them helped many of these great people to overcome what seemed to be impossible odds, opposition, danger, or difficulty. They might have ended up unheard of by the rest of the world if they hadn't been inspired to achieve, and as a result of that, pushed themselves to become more than they were.
Many of these great men and women were thought to have had little or no potential to begin with. There have been cases of great teachers, scientists, and inventors who were thought to be below average intellectually as children. Some great athletes have been told that they were too sick, handicapped, or weak to qualify for even the first level of competition. There have been cases of great writers and speakers who could hardly articulate themselves when they first started. World-famous dancers, singers, and actors can remember being turned down at their first auditions due to "not having enough talent."
There are many who failed and made countless mistakes, who showed promise and potential, but were disappointed over and over again—until finally, through the strength to persevere that was ignited in part by those who believed in them, they succeeded.
Courtesy of Activated magazine and www.anchor.tfionline.com.