Question: How does a kid who is 5'8" tall, growing up in an abusive home, surrounded by poverty make it into the NBA?
Answer: He has a dream and he has someone who believes in him.
Meet Melvin Adams. He's a former NBA player and Harlem Globetrotter who travels the nation encouraging kids and adults to embrace the challenges in their lives as opportunities to grow and move toward success. He says it all started when a guidance counselor at his school began to tell him he was "Awesome!" He shares that she said it every day and soon, he started to believe it. That simple act of reaching out to a kid to create value in him made all the difference in the world to Melvin. It actually changed the course of his life.
I have known Melvin for four years. We met as a part of an Upward Sports Basketball Celebration event at our church. We stay in touch with text messages throughout the year. I recently had the opportunity to have him back to our church for another Upward program. As part of his visit, I was able to see him in action on several occasions which meant that I heard his talk at least five or more times.
One part of his story really stuck with me. It's the story I shared above about the guidance counselor. I love how she kept reminding Melvin of his value and how "Awesome" he was. That simple act changed the direction of his life, his future and his influence. The more I pondered this notion of repeating a statement of value to someone over and over, and how it impacted Melvin's life, I could not help but wonder, what value of statement am I giving my kids and others around me.
I recently shared how one of my kids had begun to show very uncharacteristic behavior and choices. My wife and I both began to give attention to the "Awesome Principle" and say, "You're Awesome!" or "You can do this!" a lot in our home. Will you be surprised that we noticed an instant change? Grades started to improve, behavior was a non-issue and we even got a note home from the teacher saying, "We've had a great day!"
Go ahead...try it. Find someone in your circle of influence and begin creating value in their life. Start telling them they are "Awesome!" or share something you admire about them. Help them start believing what it is you already know.
Here is a short clip of Melvin speaking (4:00):