Sunday, December 7, 2014

Pep Talk: "Let's Give It A Shot!"

The man sitting next to me in the noisy room leaned close, smiled wide and pronounced, “I am so proud of her.”

What a difference a few months make. It speaks to the power of a group to influence thoughts, words and actions. It can be incredibly productive or destructive. In this man’s case, association with a team helped keep him sane during an insane moment. A teenage daughter, legally an adult, had met a man online, fallen in love and moved across the country to live with the fellow young adult and his family.

Every Friday morning, this gentle soul would not hold back the anguish felt for a wayward child. Who meets a dude on the Internet, forgoes college, packs bags and ventures into a future fraught with peril? Crazy.

Many of us are certainly guilty of similar stupidity, right? Each week this man would seek strength and guidance from a bunch of knuckleheads, many with similar tales of woe concerning a child’s illogical thinking. Veterans of such harrowing moments implored the health-care worker to persevere, pray and believe, “This too shall pass.”

It did. To no one’s surprise the relationship soured. The child moved back to Colorado, is now enrolled in college, paying for it and living independently. A brain-cramp moment has led a young woman to march forward on the maturity meter. It has brought peace to a father’s soul, and a smile to his face.

Challenges. We all have ‘em, right? Don’t face them alone. Teamwork is the key to success!

My mind wanders to our nation’s turmoil. Racial and social justice protests in the streets, mostly peaceful, but some violent and tragic. Will the demonstrations bring about positive change? How can we harness this energy, tension and frustration in an attempt to build bridges over barriers dividing us?

It’s one of the attributes of Victory’s “A Stronger Cord” project. Barriers are removed. Interested folks stare at a picture of sweaty dudes. “Who are the homeless, and who are the lawyers, doctors, salesmen and trainers?” It’s difficult to correctly identify, via the labels offered, the pictured men.

Exercise is an equalizer. A connector. It provides an opportunity to build the bridges and span the divides. All ASC asks of others is to gather. Warm up. Work out. Hang out. Sweat. Bond. Grow.

At the very least, in a country plagued by obesity, ASC participants will become more physically fit.  Who knows? With some luck, given the project’s emphasis on becoming fitness-minded, dependable and productive, we can build a stronger cord to families, jobs and communities.

It starts with uniting. It helps us ride out the storms. A wayward child, an addiction, illness, divorce, job loss or whatever. It helps create solutions where, before, there was conflict. Teamwork. It requires sacrifice of self.

This week, dive into a group determined to make a difference. One heart beat. It will make you proud and us better. Let’s give it a shot!

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