For the past two years my favorite teenager has been part of the marching band at her high school. Last year near the end of the season I picked her up from a Saturday practice for the lunch break. She had just an hour before she had to be back on the field for the afternoon session. The gallon water thermos she, and most of the band members, carried filled with ice and water from home had been consumed during the morning practice. I realized that if my student was out of ice the rest of the marching band probably was too. It was easy enough to pick up 40 lbs of ice at the grocery store close to the school on our way back. It only took a few minutes to refill water jugs with ice and the chorus of “Thank you”s was enough to make all their parents proud.
Marching Band Camp is notorious for being the hottest days of the summer and this year has been no exception. My mini van recorded the temp on Wednesday as 98 in the shade! These young men and women are in the full sun on an astro turf surface from 9am-noon. When they leave the field for the lunch break I have been waiting: me and 2 rolling ice chests with 80 lbs of ice.
Today as a group of young men were walking away after filling up with ice, I overheard one ask the other “why didn’t we do this before?” The simple answer is because I didn’t think of it before. I knew they were working hard and that it was hot. I knew I was filling my daughter’s water jug with ice in the morning. But it took me a full season and almost half the second one to realize they all needed a chance to refill.
I wonder how many other little things, that could make a huge difference, are not done just because they haven’t been thought of yet.
I wonder what little things we are already doing that just need to be expanded in volume or scope.
I wonder how much the next generation could be encouraged when they are working hard in the heat of the day, pushing themselves to be better and stronger and part of something bigger than themselves.
I wonder what would happen if more people showed up with a bag of ice…or a cup of cold water…or an encouraging word.
Who needs you to show up with a bag of ice?