Due to a few people being away, our Development Office meeting got canceled. We do a lot of good working meetings, but I seldom cry or complain when one gets canceled. Since I planned to spend time there anyway, I wandered around the offices with a little extra time to check on what folks are working on. Donors have been generous with the annual heating appeal and the Lakota (Sioux) star quilt raffle, so there are many letters to answer, along with prayer requests and questions. With any kind of ministry, you imagine yourself doing great and life changing things. Today, we spent time trying to figure out the best use of a fur coat that someone generously gave us. Every day brings unique challenges and opportunities.
Over lunch, we had a training session for all of our supervisors. The topic was time management, and I did notice that everyone was there on time. Most interesting to me was the acknowledgement that one of the biggest problems is that we too easily get distracted by “shiny objects” – things we find more interesting and attractive that pull us away from focusing on what is most important. I can make a list and cross off many things, but if I’m not getting at the most important tasks, which are often the most demanding, I’m not making much real progress. In the spiritual life, we so often speak of discernment, and trying to look to God to show us what is important, and what we can and must let go of. When I see something important that I cannot accomplish myself, that’s where teamwork and dialogue become so important.
Our 7th and 8th grade boys were in basketball action again tonight. The 7th grade continues to roll with a 6-0 start to the season. The 8th graders played hard but came up 5 points short. One of the kids was visibly upset when the coach took him out of the game, and other choked back tears when he fouled out. I spent most of the 4th quarter over on the bench just sitting there, trying to be a calming influence and be of support. We all have a tendency to think of our kids as tough, but those times remind me that their self-esteem is fragile, and some have wounds that are not easily healed. A basketball game, school activity or home event may trigger a reaction that tells us to look beyond the behavior and ask what we need to address. Our programs try to take all that into account and help them through the difficulties of growing up years.