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March 23, 2008



I wanted to write to share with you how I have been celebrating failure this whole year.

Last fall I started coaching some kids in a scripture/catechism memory quizzing game (it's called Junior Bible Quiz and it's really a great tool for discipling kids). It's set up like a quiz show. There are 576 questions and answers to memorize and the first one to get on the buzzer and interrupt the question gets to answer it. It is very competitive. The program is very well thought out with children in mind, so there are ways to reward kids who know the material, but aren’t very fast on the buzzer. But there is one element of the program that can be very traumatic for some kids. It’s called quizzing out backwards, and it occurs if a kid answers three questions incorrectly in one match. For some kids, it is devastating and can be very emotional. (These are 1st through 6th graders.)

The woman who ran the program last year rewarded the kids with a candy bar if they quizzed out backwards. It was a concept I just could not get my healthy mom organic head to swallow. Finally, after realizing I could no longer sidestep the issue, I cornered the woman who had set the precedent and asked her for some guidance. Her answer made me change the way I approached the whole game and coached the kids.

She said, “Yeah, sorry about setting the candy bar precedent, but a few years ago, I started looking at the statistics of the top quizzers in the league and realized they all went through a period of time when they consistently quizzed out backwards (a very public failure in front of parents, pastors and peers). So I decided I needed to encourage the kids to get on the buzzer and not worry so much about whether they were right or wrong. In order to do that, I offered them a reward for having the guts to be wrong in front of a roomful of people who were awaiting their answers.”

After coming away from that conversation, I started coaching the kids differently. I had never had a problem with them getting wrong answers before, but with new energy, I encouraged them to get in the game and started rewarding them for the times they buzzed in, in addition to whether or not they got the answers right. It’s amazing the effect this has had on the whole team. The less experienced players are getting in the game more, and the more experienced players are becoming real encouragers to the less-skilled players.

It has also been a life lesson for me and I have been a lot more graceful with myself when I make mistakes. When we make mistakes at my house, we now say, “Well, I got on the buzzer. I was wrong, but I still got in the game.” And we know that’s worth quite a lot.



Christine Kimeria

Hi John Stanko,

I am writing to thank you for todays Matthew Bible Study and Monday Memo. They both spoke to my life directly. I have been a PA/Executive Assistant for more than 10 years and 4 years ago completed a diploma in Business Management. Unfortunately I was retrenched from my employment just before I finished this diploma.

So far I have worked as an office manager for 8 months and just before that I attended an interview for a Human resource position, but they ended up offering me a PA position. But in two weeks I knew I was at the wrong place and had to leave. I recently worked as an office manager for 6 weeks, but again had to leave as it was just a trial period. I now understand why our Lord Jesus Christ had to relocate.

I now believe God will guide me to my next post as I have committed it to him.

In relation to the Monday Memo of 26th May, I have always believed that God wants me to use all the talents He has given me - then I get confused by the waiting on Him part. I now feel encouraged that I can do all he puts in me to do for his glory, without fearing I am out of His will. I also have the conviction that if I am in the wrong place, (as above) he will definitely let me know.

God Bless you always!

Christine Kimeria

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