Friday, December 16, 2005

The Boy Who Thought Ahead

I wrote this as a Christmas gift for my 7 year old nephew:

It started when he was a young boy, and
he never went into the street
without first looking both ways:
he was a boy who thought ahead.

It continued when he played soccer.
He learned to act as if he was kicking
the ball into one side of the net,
then kick it into the other side to score a goal.
He knew the goalie would go for his fake.
He was a boy who thought ahead.

When the weather might turn cold,
he left the house with a hat or a hood.

When he had a big day coming up,
he went to bed a bit early.

When the bases were loaded,
he thought ahead.
He would throw to home plate on a grounder,
or check the runners if he caught a pop fly.

When he had homework,
he tried to get it done early.

Sometimes, he thought of good birthday gifts
for his family.
He would make a mental note -
or even write his idea on a paper
he kept in his drawer.
He was a boy who thought ahead.

He would watch
opponents' eyes
before a football snap.
The eyes would often tell the tale
of where the entire player would be going
after the snap.

He would study
where the opponent
might plan to move his chess pieces.

He would think ahead,
and open doors for his Mom.

He would fake
a basketball shot
to get his opponent
into the air.
He would drive to the basket
while they were coming back to the ground.
He learned to shoot lay-ups
from both sides of the basket.
He was a boy who thought ahead.

He learned good table manners,
so he would be a welcome dinner guest.

He only went swimming when an adult was present.

He ate vegetables so he would grow tall and strong.

He drank plenty of water on hot days.
He was a boy who thought ahead.
It was a gift.

the boy
became a bit
too proud
of his ability to think ahead.
He began to think ahead
when he really needed
to pay attention in the moment.

There's a Greek word
for allowing pride
to create overconfidence:
Hubris has caused trouble
for famous Kings and Queens and warriors.
Hubris will sneak up on all of us
when we least expect it.
It snuck up on our hero.
Too much thinking ahead
began to cause problems.

While he dressed for school,
the boy would think about brushing his teeth.
Sometimes he put on one red sock
and one blue sock.

When he brushed his teeth,
he would think about riding to school.
Sometimes, he accidentally put foot cream
on his toothbrush!

On the schoolbus, he would think about doing math.
Sometimes he almost got off the bus at the wrong stop,
until the driver called out to him.
Thinking ahead could be a problem!

When he went to recess, well -
he did focus on play during recess. Thank goodness!

One day, the boy sat down to talk with his Dad:
"Dad, thinking ahead can be helpful,
but too much of it can be unhelpful!"

His Dad said:
"True. The Bible says there is a time for everything.
So, there is a time to think ahead, and a time to focus on the moment.
Its pretty easy to figure out - how did you get confused?"

The boy's eyes twinkled as he remembered his goof-ups, and he smiled a mischievous smile:
"Dad, we must have Greek ancestors.
It was Hubris!
I was too proud and too confident about thinking ahead!"

The boy then recounted his misadventures.
He and his Dad laughed happy laughs,
without thinking at all.
The end.

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