When my youngest son was in his teens and growing into his twenties he was an outstanding tennis player. He played number one singles in high school and was selected to the junior Davis Cup team. During his college days he was also slotted at number one. He served and volleyed so hard there were times I couldn’t see the ball; and I was a spectator. During the summer months he taught the game to aspiring youngsters and in the evenings to a few adults at a local tennis club.
We travelled with him to many Midwestern venues including my favorite, the Westerns. This tennis event was held on the courts adjacent to the Michigan State football stadium. The players were selected from six states and were the cream of the crop of youth tennis.
The one problem I had with all the tournaments we attended were the parents and how they pampered their sons. They would carry their rackets and water, make sure they had a change of clothing and constantly challenged the calls made by the umpires and referees. At times they were outright ugly. We took a different approach. We would watch silently except for the occasional. “Great shot” or “You can do it.” Another time he forgot his USTA (United States Tennis Association) card which you need to enter an event. We paid for a new card but the new rule was from now on if you don’t have your card we go home. He never forgot his card again.
It seemed as though many of the players were playing for their parents and not for themselves. We were again different. Our son chose his sport and we would do almost anything to encourage his efforts. But he never played because of our wishes. It was his time, not ours.
And I can imagine him now, the father of three, encouraging his own children as they learn the game he so thoroughly loved.
But encouragement doesn’t always begin at one’s doorstep. While I was in rehab after having a knee replacement I made a point to encourage other patients as they struggled during their physical therapy. They called me Mr. Encourager!
Listen to a portion of Paul’s final greetings to the church of Corinth,
“Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.” 2 Corinthians 13:11
Our duty is to refresh the hearts and encourage all people. It begins with one person, you.