“Love is when you’re missing some of your teeth but you’re not afraid to smile because you know your friends will still love you even though some of you is missing.“ Emma, Age 6
Love is a safe place. Little girls and big girls will do their best smiling and their best laughing when they are greeted by love. The voice of love always recognizes us by name and assures us that we are known and that we are safe. This often results in a Victory Smile; teeth are optional.
“When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.” Billy, Age 4
We spend much of our adult lives gathering, competing and performing. In the process of trying to parent, provide and protect our daughters we may rush past some simple places to bless and connect with our girls. Are we helping them smile, before they have it all together? How do they hear us say their name?
Abigail is my youngest daughter, and today she turns twelve. She started her athletic adventures 4 years ago. She joined a girl’s softball team aptly named the Hot Tamales. This group of 2nd grade girls had never played softball before. They looked super cute in their team uniforms, complete with matching socks. They chanted and sang softball cheers with great passion and conviction. They had amazing team spirit and confidence. The only thing they were not particularly good at was playing softball.
Turns out that after all the pictures, cheers, chants and high fives, they had to play girls each week that seemed to do the playing part much better than the Hot Tamales.
Late in the season the girls had yet to put up a win. I arrived after work one day during the last inning of their game. The Hot Tamales were down 18 to 0. I approached Abigail to offer some encouragement.
“Sounds like it’s been another tough game out there” I offered. Abigail nodded.
“Are you sad about the score?” I asked.
“Not really,” she said, “we’re in second place.”
The Hot Tamales finished strong that day, snatching a solid second place. The game finished with softball cheers, pictures, a “Celebration Tunnel” through all the parents and spectators, and Juice Boxes all around. The girls pulled off a perfect record that season – all second place finishes. The Hot Tamales were not an “all together” team. There were things missing, but there was no shortage of joy, smiles or laughter.
Let’s help our daughters celebrate, even when things are missing, messed up and imperfect. Let’s remember to cheer and enjoy all those second place victories. In God’s Kingdom, no matter the scoreboard, we are destined for a great season. There is nothing quite like a Celebration Tunnel and a Juice Box to bring on a Victory Smile. Have one soon with your daughter.
Great dads are great fans, let’s keep praying and cheering for the Home Team.
Grace & Peace,
Dr. Don Worcester