I was able to take my young grandson to Timbits soccer last Thursday, and it was a beautiful evening. The previous Tuesday was his first soccer gathering, and although I was not able to attend, I had heard he did not go out on the field with the other kids that evening. He was apprehensive, overwhelmed, and even teary as he sat on the sidelines. It was his first time in organized sport, his first time out with a large group of people, and his first time having people watch him play.
I could tell he had lots of anxiety about playing on Thursday but I could also tell that he was excited about us going with him to his game. His parents had a function to attend, but they had taken him out to the field behind his house the night before to practice with the ball, wear his uniform, and get a feel of what it was like to play for a bit. He was apprehensive but also excited as we pulled up to the field and he said he was going to try to play today.
We made sure we got there a bit early so we had lots of time to settle in. Reid went up tentatively and asked if he could play with a soccer ball. As he started to kick the ball around, his confidence was building. We went over to where his team was setting up, and the coach knew his name and said she was glad to see him. He took part in the warm-up, following every cue his coach gave him. He stayed on the field and took part in every drill, looking over at me a couple of times to see if I was watching. I waved at him. He waved back with a huge smile. His team then took part in a scrimmage against another team, and it was great to see him in the mix as the crowd of kids all ran after the ball up and down the field. He had a breakaway at one point, and he seemed so excited to have been able to make contact with the ball!
As the game ended, he came over with a huge grin on his face. He went over to thank his coaches and they gave him a high five. As we were walking back to the car, I suggested we go for ice cream, and this was met with huge cheers from both him and his brother. As we were getting into the car, Reid asked, “Will you tell my mom I did good?” I paused as I was holding his seatbelt, and as I looked into his eyes I saw the sincerity of his request. “Of course, I will. But it’s more important that you know you did good.” He then said, “I know, Grandma. I just want my mom to know.”
This makes me think of our students at school. There are many who struggle to come across the threshold of our building or our classrooms every day. There are those who have to practice what they will do in the hallway and in a classroom, sometimes because they are unsure of what to do or they feel that all eyes are watching them. There are students who have “wins” in the classroom but might not have anyone to share it with, or anyone who is wanting to look at what they have accomplished in a positive manner.
So I will put out this challenge to all of us in this short week - let’s all make a few positive comments to our kids or someone else in their life that let them know that something good happened. It could be about positive attendance or chores completed. It could be about a completed task or an interesting aspect of their work. It could be a moment of humor or an act of kindness you witnessed. Most of us want to know when we have “done good” but we can also have a significant impact if we are in a position to let a connected person know that someone has done something good.
We can make a positive difference through the words we use, and we can change lives for the better.