Everything I needed to know I learned from my Junior Church class.  I was thinking of writing a book, but I think that one has been written.  Once. Maybe ten times already.  Oh well. Perhaps I will simply stick to “lessons I’ve learned from the Junior Church kiddos.”  The title is not quite as catchy but my heart is so often stirred, admonished, and encouraged…..well, I know the lessons are worth sharing.
GO – Yesterday afternoon, a friend and I took the middle-aged boys from our class out for some fun.  We had done something similar several weeks ago with the girls, and the boys were eager for their turn. The girls loved painting their own pottery but we thought the boys would enjoy something a bit more competitive.  We are a competitive group in Junior Church.  Even a dot-to-dot paper can become a competition. Excitement – and emotions – can quickly become intense.  I wanted our afternoon to be fun without being tooo competitive….if you know what I mean.  We chose bowling.
Three of the four boys had never bowled before.  And bowling balls are heavy.  The (always a mama) old lady in me had some concern.  Would they have fun?  Get frustrated and/or lose interest?  Would even one pin get knocked down?  And so on.  These quickly proved needless worries as the boys immediately had fun.  Whoever invented the gutter guards was a genius – and we had pins a plenty being knocked down.  Points accruing.  Scores climbing.  No concern for which pins fell, how they fell, or even how to finish the frame.  Just let me know….”what is my score!?”
But here is the beauty of the entire afternoon.  As enthusiastic as the boys were about their ever-increasing scores, they were just as excited about the others’ scores.  They cheered, high-fived, clapped – and yelled – for one another!  Truthfully, they were the best encouragers.  And I was humbled.
STOP – Yes, I know my five minutes are up.  However, I was so keenly reminded of the power of encouragement yesterday.  We all need encouragement…and what a difference just a few high-fives or words of cheer can make in our day.  Those few words can not only keep us in the game (keep us going) but can lighten whatever weight (or heavy ball) we might be carrying.  As well, we can all be encouragers!  What a great privilege is ours to be the one who will come alongside – or simply cheer from the sidelines – for someone else.  Life does not have to be one big competition.  Nor do I need to be so focused on my score/strategy/game (whichever analogy you choose) that I cannot cheer for others as well.  Maybe even share a high-five now and then!!
These are my thoughts for Five Minute Friday and the prompt: GENEROUS.  These boys were generous with praise.  Generous with encouragement.  And it came naturally….which I love.  Sure, we reminded them to keep their hands (and their head!) out of the ball return.  But we never had to admonish them to cheer for their friends.  Dear Lord, help me to be generous.  Generous with compliments.  With kind words.  And generous with encouragement.

14 Replies to “Five Minute Friday: Generous”

  1. The ball hums down the polished lane,
    like hot knife through cold butter,
    but my result’s always the same:
    it ends up in the gutter,
    and the pins, they laugh at me,
    through shining pearly whites.
    I vow now to gain victory
    in oh so many nights,
    and gradually my skills arise
    from that first nadir,
    and imagine pins’ surprise
    as the ball draws near
    to 1-3 pocket like a spike
    aimed at the heart… yippee, a strike!

  2. It sounds like a lot of fun was had by all. By way of encouragement to you, I say a very good job in planning fun activities for your girls and boys and then actually doing the activities. I had good intentions of getting together with my junior high youth group girls over the summer and I am sad to say that the plans didn’t progress past the intention stage. So, hooray for you for acting on your plans for fun get togethers. It is really cool how the boys cheered each other on so much.

  3. I love it when kids are kind to one another. It’s always such a pleasant surprise when they encourage one another, instead of fighting or saying something competitive.

    I found your blog by way of someone else’s blog, so I thought I’d stop by to read a few posts. It seems, by reading your introduction of yourself, that we have some things in common!

    Mondays and mornings are my absolute favorites! I love to organize and I despise politics!

    Thanks for sharing your blog! I’ll definitely check back often.

    1. Debbie – I am so glad you found your way to the blog….and stopped to visit and to introduce yourself! I hope you will come back often:)

  4. don’t you think that the kids in our lives make the best teachers? love that you’re working with these young men in this very important season of their lives. bless you, Jennifer!

    1. Linda – you are right! The kiddos in our lives are excellent teachers! And these Junior Church kiddos are no exception:)

  5. What a great adventure for those boys (and you!) I can imagine their excitement and enthusiasm! Bowling is not one of my better talents…being a lefty I never knew there were different balls for left handed people. No wonder I always had gutter balls…and no one ever told us about gutter guards. Now I should try again. You’ve made me wish I could! Thank you for this lovely post. Yes, it was generous and full of joy and valuable lessons learned.

    1. Pamela, I honestly had no idea there were bowling balls for left-handed people?!?! Who knew! And maybe that explains much about my pitiful bowling scores (and skills!) I think I have been using the wrong ball:) (yes, I am right handed but I’m sure I must have been using a left-handed ball!!) LOL –

  6. This made me smile. Our grandson had his birthday party at the local bowling alley a few weeks ago and I was taken aback by how excited they got for each other as the ball hit the pins! I thought they may get upset if they weren’t doing well but they were all being so encouraging to each other. Sometimes I think we could learn a lot from a six year old 😉

  7. Jennifer, this is beautiful! We took our homeschool on a bowling trip recently and saw similar things. I’m reminded, through reading your post, how generous words are just as much a blessing as anything tangible I could give someone. Thanks for the encouragement.
    Kath, your FMF neighbour at #28 this week.

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