So I’m standing outside the elementary school today, waiting to meet my wife and daughter before the school day begins. Students are streaming in. Suddenly, I hear this “Thwok! THWOK!” I look across the front of the school and there are two faculty members bouncing a rubber ball off the side of the building and a kid is catching the ball off the rebound then returning it to the staff members for another toss. When that kid made the third consecutive catch they all celebrated as if the child had just scored a World Cup goal. There were cheers. There were arm raised in victory. There would have been high fives, but the kids was too busy sprinting and leaping in circles celebrating. When the celebration was over, the kid returned the ball, grabbed their backpack and headed into the building.

Over the course of 15 minutes or so, I saw another 3 or 4 students step up to the challenge. Each time it was the same. Three tosses, three catches…CELEBRATION!!!!

About the third time through, the impact and importance of this simple interaction struck me.

That’s a handful of kids who entered that school today with a smile on their faces and CONFIDENCE in their hearts!

In this time where we all seem to be pounded with a barrage of anger, mistrust and venom this small group of young people started their day with a feeling of self-worth, pride and accomplishment.

What a profoundly valuable gift for those men to bestow on those kids through such an elegantly simple interaction. And it was EASY! It looked natural! Each exchange took what, two minutes? At most!

Imagine what we might all accomplish, if we tried to follow that example. If we took the two minutes each day to build some one up rather than rail to tear others down.

To the faculty members with the red rubber ball…thank you, gentlemen. Thanks for all you do as educators, but even more so, thank you for the gift you bestow upon those young people.