He called at 6:45 p.m. to say he was ready to be picked up, but I had accidentally forgotten my phone.

I didn’t get there till 8:00 p.m.

It was a long night for my boy.

It was a ‘pickup game’ of lacrosse. But apparently he had more skills to pick up than the other players. They were in high school; he was a fourth grader. So it was pretty rough.

They kept telling him, “Guard your man!” But he couldn’t tell one giant from the next–especially from way down low.

Just a few days before, my husband and I had prayed for our son. We prayed that God would help him develop more humility. He’s big for his age, and strong. And school isn’t overly difficult for him. He’s funny and it’s easy for him to get a laugh. None of these qualities are especially helpful for developing humility.

But playing lacrosse with giants is.

He had a different demeanor when he got home. He was easier to get along with. And more appreciative.

It’s good for boys to sometimes not be the best, or the strongest, or the fastest. It helps them to bulk up with humility.

But then, it’s also good to have encouragement in the midst of a humbling encounter.

One of the coaches had jumped in and played for some of the game. He told my boy, “Hey, I like the way you keep going after the ball and you don’t give up!”

“Mom, that guy was so nice,” my son told me somberly. “I think he was looking for something to compliment me on. And after he said that, I decided not to be embarrassed anymore, that I wasn’t as good as everyone else. I just tried my hardest.”

Knowing you’re not the best, but trying your hardest anyway is a beautiful thing. It’s humility without humiliation. When you have that sort of humility, you’re able to be encouraged (rather than inflated) by a compliment–which is a good way to be, on all the playing fields of life.

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