Monday, March 30, 2009

Spread the Word to End the Word The Word. The r-word.

President Obama made a controversial comment as Jay Leno was giving him polite praise for working to improve his bowling skills. Some people saw the comment as "people in Special Olympics are bad bowlers;" and some saw it as "we praise effort in Special Olympics, not an absolute measure of achievement."

I believe that, as a Christian, I'm asked to "praise effort" as a general course, not just in the case of those that don't perform at a level generally accepted as typical or successful. I love watching my young, intellectually disabled daughter try to learn and do new things, even when she isn't successful, even when she's 2+ years behind her peers. It is frustrating. Sometimes sad. Sometimes scared. Every single time, though, she deserves my praise for the hard work and effort she put into trying. Only when she doesn't try am I disappointed.

The same goes true for those that we sometimes declare as successful or label overachievers. If they aren't pushing themselves to achieve their fullest potential, then they aren't contributing to their fullest. I believe that is what God asks us to do - our best and our fullest. We when do, we should praise each other for that as well - not just for the achievement; but also for the effort, dedication, inspiration, and courage that lead to the achivement.


Sarahlynn said...

We had an interesting discussion in Sunday School this week, talking about that line between "How have I been blessed by God" and "Does this mean that those who don't have what I have have NOT been blessed by God?"

Someone brought up teams praying for victory b/f sporting events. One guy said that he has a problem praying for any particular outcome in any situation. Instead, he prays for persistence. To keep working, keep trying, keep going on and dealing with the situations life throws his way.

I'm still working on that.

Viola Larson said...

Thank you Paul,
One of my sons as a child was a special education student. He had a horrible time with school and was often picked on even by teachers when he was not in his special classes. My husband and I were afraid he would spend a lot of his adult life in lonely places and prayed about this a lot. He ended up marrying into a large Hispanic family (the parents still speak only Spanish) and he has really become the head of this family. Besides a good job he has contributed to so much of their household’s needs, building patios, gardening etc. (The father has diabetes and has lost both of his feet.)
He is one of the kindest people we know—contributing monthly to one of our other sons who is out of work at the moment. I praise God for this son (well of course all my kids-but you know) and for the wonderful way he has shaped him and cared for him. Once again thank you-there are no R-kids.