Two things struck me earlier this month.
They happened within the same week.
One, a beautiful image of what pouring into another person looks like.
The other, the realization of what’s needed when you’ve been pouring out for too long.
My boys love sports. They play assorted sports year round. Basketball just wrapped up (and we’ve begun baseball). They had an excellent team, in a competitive league, and they won their division. It was exciting to be sure, but they weren’t the star players this year. Far from it. They were two of three second graders on a majority third grade team. And one boy played like he was the junior high varsity draft pick.
Despite their frustration at not being the “go-to” guys this year, they had two extraordinary coaches.
The best kids coach we’ve yet to experience.
The head coach managed to teach actual new skills, to hold the boys accountable, and to encourage them and cheer them on. This fairly rare blend of competitiveness and compassion. This is not his day job mind you. He’s one of the boy’s dad.
These two men gave hours and hours every week to practices and game, never complaining, always prodding the boys to be better. No one player was treated differently than the others.
And then the end of season party came.
As the coaches stood at the front of the Fuddrucker’s party room, the head coach listed a specific skill and moment in the season where each boy shined. One of the moms had taken photos of the boys in action and the coach looped a medal over each boy’s head and handed them the picture after sharing with the room their skill.
The boys beamed. Each of them. At different skills and connection with one another. Then, if that weren’t enough, the coach had written each boy a handwritten note and tucked it behind the picture. A handwritten note. I don’t know what the other boys notes said, but I read my boys notes, each different, with eyes brimming. Exhortation. Encouragement. A call to keep working.
Those coaches will never realize the impact they’ve had on these boys. All you dads and uncles and brothers and grandpas that are out there coaching these kids teams are pouring into this next generation. (Now, I saw some coaches berate and belittle and pull dirty tricks. I know this coaching thing can go either way. If you’re coaching, remember it’s not just making them better athletes but it should also make them better people.)
Then, the same week, I had a gift of an opportunity to go to my favorite spa. One organization pairs continuing legal education with a spa/golf day in town and so you get the best of both worlds. I wouldn’t have been able to afford it otherwise (we’re on a super tight post-remodeling budget). And the day fell after all the dominos had fallen over in my little world. You’ve seen all my expectations had crashed and burned, and that was before my ride in the ambulance.
I sat in the quiet. Slipped into a hot tub and from there a steam room and from there onto an oversized sofa with a glass of champagne and soft robe waiting for my name to be called. I closed my eyes as the soothing streams and flutes piped into my dim room where I received a better-than-expected massage. Afterwards, I read. I drank from fruit water. All in slow motion, deep breaths and unrushed.
I joked to my girlfriend who was attending with me, I know money can’t buy happiness but it sure can buy massages at Trellis.
I’d basically hit the bottom of the barrel of what I could physically give anymore. Then, this day. At the perfect moment. I didn’t need a week-long getaway to the beach. Heck, it would probably just stress me out to lounge around that long. I needed an afternoon.
I was all poured out. It was time for someone else to do the pouring. And then I came back. Better mom. Better worker. Healthier. Refreshed.
Where are you today? All poured out? Take one day off. Find a way to sit somewhere quiet and read. Even if a massage isn’t in the budget, go sit at the back of a bookstore in an oversized chair and drink a frothy coffee and close your eyes.
Are you doing okay? Managing? Then pull up a kid or a friend or a co-worker and do some pouring in. Encourage someone who’s adrift. Teach someone something. Mentor someone new to something you know.
It’s a give and take, right? A gift.
Photo courtesy of Kirksey