I had the privilege of spending part of my weekend in a youth archery event. These events are always interesting to me. There are parents and children from different walks of life gathered from all over the state with one common denominator; a child who shoots archery. There are youth from all age ranges and all skill levels. Some of these kids have the talent to make this into a career, while others are new to the sport. Some like me, are here because their child shoots, others the whole entire family competes. I appreciate the spirit of all of these families. The people make the event.
I have found lifelong friends through archery. Many of us have been together for several years. We have travelled and competed around the region, state and the Southeast United States. I was once very new to this sport. I had a daughter who wanted to shoot and I had never even held a bow in my hands until I held hers. I was that mom, you know the one who wears everyone out with questions? Yeah, that was me! Fortunately for me, this community is one that helps each other.
I can tell you by observation which kids have higher end equipment, but I cannot tell who is better by the way they treat each other. These kids are incredibly helpful and gracious to their competitors. Those who excel and have been around, the leaders in the sport, they treat their peers like they have a responsibility to help others. It’s almost as if they know one of my favorite verses, “to who much is given much is expected” and you have been given much. Frequently when the older kids are not competing they are helping a younger child. I love that, I love watching them help each other. I saw that several times Saturday. It would be so easy for these kids to stand back and watch, but they help. They help grow the future generations. I want to replicate their attitudes and behaviors for the rest of the world. We could learn a lot from these kids.
Passing It On
Interesting don’t you think how we can all learn life lessons from watching kids shoot bows? I suppose you could say the same of many child sporting activities. But I have sat at many sporting events and I have never seen this until I met archery people. These people will give you equipment to help you finish your tournament, even if you are a competitor. I cannot count the times a competitor or the parent of a competitor has helped us out while on the range. And it wasn’t because they liked us or we were nice, although I hope we were. I have seen kids loan others expensive equipment to help them with a shot knowing that they were competitors. This weekend was no exception, I watched coaches and parents cheer for teams and individuals. I heard encouraging words to competitors. I watched the granddaughter of a great archer help two very young archers as they began their journey. That moment I saw the teaching from her grandfather pass down to another generation – it was beautiful. I have seen kids give up releases and share things just to help each other when it would have been easier to ignore their predicament. Let’s face it, helping your competitor may not be in your best interest at podium time. But what if this is about more than a trophy? What is character development worth? Certainly more than the $4.25 medallion they are chasing. In archery there is a belief that you are your own competition… improving your own score and doing your best matters. In reality everyone wants to win, it is a competitive sport, but this is bigger than a medal. Sometimes it’s not, unfortunately there are always those kids and parents that care only about the win, you can usually tell who those are. I run with the other crowd, the bigger group that cares about more than winning.
Changing Our World
What would happen if we handled our world like these kids do archery? What if we decided we cared more about helping each other than beating each other. You see, in my opinion, when you win so do I. When we move forward we all win. When you challenge me and help me grow we both win. What if we all decided to grow together? We could learn a lot by hanging out with the archery community. They have their bad moments too, but this weekend reminded me of the good in the world and of the good in humanity. You can’t imagine how cool it was to watch that young lady making a difference in those young lives just as someone else did hers once.
Impacting the World Around You
What if we all lived like these kids treat their competitors, imagine the difference we can make in someone else’s life. I simply cannot count the times that another archer or parent helped us on our journey. There were additional pointers, lessons, introductions to those who could help, equipment loaned, snacks and drinks on the trail… well, basically anything we needed someone shared. As a woman who knew nothing about archery I never felt alone on a range, there was always someone to offer support. Thank you archery community for supporting and encouraging.. thank you for your friendship and for your examples of the way we should be. I am so thankful for the memories we have of the great people who have touched our lives. Thank you all – you have been incredible blessings to us. I hope you were as blessed by us as we were by you. Thank you for reminding us to take care of each other… it means more than winning every single day. Thank you kids for the reminder from this weekend, caring more about helping our fellow man matters – together we all succeed.