Friday, May 25, 2012

Real Winners

Nobody loves motivational quotes more than I do. But be very careful because every once in a while you'll find a quote that might sound good but isn't true. And if you believe that quote, it might actually do some harm.

Let me tell you a story...

It was the most important Little League game of Eric's life. He was 11 years old and his team, the Pirates, were playing the Giants in the championship game.

It was the bottom of the sixth inning and the Pirates were ahead 2-1. But the Giants had the bases loaded with two outs and their best hitter was at bat.

He hit an easy fly ball to Bobby, the Pirate's right fielder. Bobby circled under the ball as everyone held their breath. The ball fell into his glove and then bounced out. Bobby scrambled for the ball, but by the time he decided where to throw it, two Giants had scored.

Final score:
Giants 3
Pirates 2

It would be "wait until next year" for the Pirates.

As the Pirates moped off the field, something totally unexpected happened. Their manager started yelling and screaming at Bobby.

"You lost the game for us. You cost us the championship!"

Crying, Bobby ran off the field and vanished into the woods.

After the game, Eric went to meet his parents in the parking lot, but his dad wasn't there. His mom said he had something to do. On the drive home, a dejected Eric saw something that startled him.

Way in the distance, Eric saw his dad walking Bobby home. His dad had his arm around the kid who probably felt like he didn't have a friend in the world.

Eric never forgot the kindness his dad showed that evening.
As the years passed, whenever Bobby saw Eric's dad, he always greeted him warmly and enthusiastically because he never forgot, either.

So whenever I hear stories like this one, I think of this quote:
"Winning is not the only thing, it's everything."

This quote makes my blood boil because the manager in the story actually believed it. He believed that winning a Little League game was "everything" and that the feelings of a fragile 11 year old boy were "nothing."

The truth of the matter is that winning is not the only thing. Winning is not everything.

Real winners don't necessarily hit home runs or make spectacular catches. Real winners know how to be kind. Eric's dad was a winner.
Here's a quote that is true and will make you a winner if you believe it:

"Winning is not the only thing, but kindness is everything."

Rob Gilbert
From Bits & Pieces

Friday, May 11, 2012

Better to Ask than Assume

The late Bill Love used to tell the story of a psychiatrist, engineer, and doctor who got lost in the Canadian woods. Stumbling on a trapper's cabin but getting no response at the door, they went inside for shelter and waited for his return.

In the corner, on a crude platform at waist-high level, was a wood-burning stove. It quickly became not only the focus of interest for their half-frozen bodies but the center of their conversation as well.

The psychiatrist explained the stove's unusual position as evidence of psychological problems brought on by isolation. The engineer, on the other hand, saw it as an ingenious form of forced-air heating. The physician surmised the poor fellow had arthritis and found it too painful to bend over to fuel his stove.

When the trapper finally arrived, they could not resist asking about the stove whose warmth had saved them. "Simple," he said. "My stove pipe was too short."

I wasn't along for that hunting trip, but I've been where those guys were that day. I've tried to read someone's mind. I've seen motives that weren't there. I've walked into situations, caught a snippet of what was happening, and made a fool of myself by some badly chosen response. Or I've used a perfectly innocent slip of the tongue as my 
excuse to take offense. I can be a real jerk at times!

On occasion, the victim has been a stranger. At other times, it was a friend from church or colleague at work. Most often, it has been my wife or child.

Communication is a wonderful thing - when it happens. But there are so many barriers. Each of us brings baggage to every situation. Words can be vague or carry very different nuances for people from different backgrounds. Then there are the prejudices and blind spots all of us have.

Lots of confusion could be eliminated and far more progress made this week by following this simple rule: When something isn't clear, ask. Don't assume. Don't guess. Don't mind-read. Trying swallowing your pride and saying, "I'm not sure I understand. Do you mind explaining that to me?"

This simple strategy could save you embarrassment, time, and money. More important still, it might save one of your life's most important relationships.

Rubel Shelly

Rubel Shelly is a Preacher and Professor of Religion and Philosophy located in Rochester Hills, Michigan. In addition to church and academic responsibilities, he has worked actively with such community projects as Habitat for Humanity, American Red Cross, From Nashville With Love, Metro (Nashville) Public Schools, Faith Family Medical Clinic, and Operation Andrew Ministries. To learn more about Rubel please go to: