Yesterday, at a Fourth of July pool/BBQ party there were about a dozen adults and four little boys all under the age of four. Granted… most of the adults were married couples… I decided to go sit at “the kids table” and check out the basketball video game they were playing. At first, their little eyes looked at me like, “Wow! Big person!” The older of the four kiddos would start pointing at the screen and asking me questions (I think?! Lol, I wasn’t quite sure what he was saying). I nodded my head and smiled (mostly). After awhile, they all got in the pool and attempted to shoot basketballs at the hoop on the edge of the pool. The little kids stood on the edge of the pool and shot. Imagine at their level… their eyes were at eye level with the rim! Even the little one would slowly stand as far as he could on the edge of the pool and stretch out with his little hands and mini basketball to toss it in! All the while, I sat under the hoop shagging balls for them. They’d shoot and make or miss I’d gently toss it back to them (after the first time tossing the college size basketball at the four year old… I realized putting your arms out in front of your face didn’t mean you’d catch it automatically lol). Needless to say, that quickly could’ve turned into a different sport filled with “headers” or mommy coming over!
My new little buddies probably shot for a good 45 minutes straight and after every bucket they made I’d get so excited and encourage them either way. After 30 mins or so, when the older one would shoot, I’d pick him up by the waist from the edge of the outside of the pool. I’d “superman” him the 2 feet from the edge to the rim and he experienced dunking! Fast forward… you guessed it… all the little boys instantly became Blake Griffins!
Once basketball died off a bit, the really little guy who was standing on the step in the shallow water next to mommy… he started feeling adventurous… and so the splashing wars begun!!!
His little hands dug in the water and he picked up all two onces of water with his palms. So I knelt down and got closer to him. I began to splash back as light as I possibly could. I put my face within about a foot of him and he splashed me real good! At that moment, I wish you could see his eyes and smiles. That did it for me!
When the boys left later that day, their mom came up to me and said it was nice meeting you and thank you so much for playing with my kids today. They loved you!
24 hours later… I ran into a local 2017 high school graduate boy who I substitute taught for his class. He was with his older sister who went to high school around the same time as I. The older sister shared with me some of the nicest words and in that moment I started putting the pieces together.
I’ve always known I loved kids. Many of you know pieces of my story. But in that moment when she said those very powerful words… I solidified my why which has grown deeper in recent months.
This road hasn’t been easy. Yet, God keeps calling me in weird ways to find my way making a career out of serving youth. Helping them to grow and be the best version of themselves.
How do you discover your why?
Allow your head to turn off and your heart on. When you be just you, you find yourself playing basketball with the kids. You find your happiness from them. You find your natural best self. Above all, truly pray and trust God.