My son is in kindergarten and just started playing basketball through the YMCA. His first game was on Saturday and I was pretty excited about it. I love watching my kids participate in activities. I might not love it as much as they get older and I am running from one activity to the next to the next, but for now I am enjoying it! It is great to see them learning new things, having fun, and making friends.
At the beginning of the game after the players had warmed up a bit, the organizer of the league gathered them up in the center of the court, asked them to take a knee, and told them to repeat after him. Together, the two little teams of kindergarteners recited, “Thank you, Lord, for two good arms, and two good legs so I can play this game.”
It actually caught me off-guard that they did that. The YMCA is a Christian organization, but I am so used to people keeping faith separate from basically everything these days. I looked around the gym and I did not see anyone whisper, grimace, or otherwise look upset. Most parents beamed with pride and a few older people in the gym even clapped.
I think it helped that the organizer of the league is well-respected community member, but this also really made me think about a few different things.
As a society, do we just say that people will be offended by our faith because it is easier to say that than it is to step out of our comfort zones and actually share it with others? Do we just assume that we have to keep our faith separate from everything else we do, but in reality, we don’t?
Maybe every player on their knee repeating that quick prayer comes from a faith-filled family. But maybe not. What if that is the only prayer they will say in their lives? What if those small moments of faith could change the life of a young person or could at least stir in them something that they have never thought about before? What if they leave their with a tiny bit if of curiosity about faith and God and what it means to be thankful for our bodies and our lives?
Although this prayer was just a tiny sliver of time in the life of a child, a collection of these tiny moments could certainly make a difference over time.
I hope that in our world we can become more focused on how we can bring faith to the next generation instead of how we can try not to offend people. Although my kids learn about faith at home and school and they pray daily, I am still so thankful that they are seeing people in our community who they look up to model what it means to be thankful to God and faith-filled.
Life really is just a collection of tiny moments, and in raising our kids, the small moments on a daily basis, like the few seconds that my 5 year old knelt down to thank God for his healthy body before a fun game of basketball, count just as much as the big, important moments.