By Jeanne Gowen Dennis
The Olympics are exciting to watch, even when Twitter aficionados find out the results before the competitions air on TV. We cheer with the winners and feel the losers’ pain, especially when they’re cute little girls.
No doubt the accomplishments of these athletes will stir many young hearts. Children will go to bed dreaming about becoming great swimmers, gymnasts, runners, equestrians, divers, or team sports players. It happens every four years. Two years from now, they will imagine themselves as great skaters, bobsledders, ice hockey players, or skiers.
The Olympics helps young people believe they can do great things, and that’s good. It also offers parents and grandparents a wonderful opportunity to encourage children to become all God wants them to be, to teach them how to decide which goals and dreams are worthy of their efforts.
As believers in Jesus, we know the highest goal is to know, love, and serve Him well. Sometimes God allows Christians a platform through their accomplishments in sports, music, media, or other avenues of fame. Football player Tim Tebow and singer Rebecca St. James are good examples of that.
But most people remain pretty much unknown. Don’t discourage children with that fact. Some of them will become accomplished athletes. Some may even become famous. Most won’t, but that doesn’t matter.
Remind children that each one of them has a circle of influence, a widening group of people who know them and are watching what they do. Help them understand how exciting it can be to realize that God put each of them exactly where He wants them. If they trust and obey Him, they can make a profound difference in their part of the world, whether they’re famous or not. He might even do it while they swim laps, dribble down a court, or perform back handsprings.
Whatever your children’s and grandchildren’s dreams might be, urge them to strive for the greater goal of a holy and blameless life. That’s an Olympic-size dream that really can come true, with the help of God.
© Jeanne Gowen Dennis