Individuals Compete, Teams Win - Forever We
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Individuals Compete, Teams Win

Individuals Compete, Teams Win

 

This summer, I encouraged my daughter to join the cross country team. I thought it would be a good opportunity for her to meet new friends before school began in August. It would be her first year in high school, and I wanted her to feel like part of a team on the very first day of school. She fought me everyday. In her heart, I know she cursed me. I mean, really, who wants to run in Atlanta  in 90 degree heat and 90% humidity? Not me, thank you very much. She actually had steam coming out of her ears, evaporating word bubbles she wouldn’t dare allow to escape her lips.  She has the good sense not to curse her mom out loud, at least.

My plan worked perfectly. On August 1st, she walked into her new school filled with over 2,500 people she has never even met, and she found her people, her team.

I think her favorite part of being on the team is the clothes.

The warm up suit, jersey, hooded sweatshirt, and long sleeve tee have seen more wear than almost anything else in her closet. She has a cool bag, too. Her name is embroidered in white on the side. On the back of one of the tees is the word TRUST. This word is an acronym for something, but she won’t tell me what. It’s a secret, she says. She’ll tell me when the season is over.

She had been running with these kids for about six weeks before she ever committed to becoming one of them. What changed? Why did she finally tell us that she wanted to run? How did those people become her people?

I would argue that it was the incremental investment of time over those six weeks that made the biggest difference in her willingness to commit to an entire season with them.

The kids on her team encourage each other. They inspire each other. They make each other better. Hours on the trails and in the gym add up to genuine relationships. The cool clothes are just a bonus.

Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

I would argue that the greatest impetus for getting anything meaningful accomplished is that mutual feeling of belonging that happens when two or more people get together to do something–anything–with passion. Maybe it’s running a race. Maybe it’s curing cancer. Maybe it’s the race to cure cancer. (Wow–that would be amazing!) All I know is that important work rarely gets done in the shadow of solitude. It is only by sharing our hopes and fears with those that care about us that we are able to move forward in the direction of our greatest dreams.

Individuals compete, but teams ultimately lose or win the meet. There’s an old African proverb that says if you want to go faster go alone, but if you want to go farther, go together. In my hurry to finish the race, I don’t want to lose sight of the real finish line, a place I know I cannot reach without the support of a like-minded community of world-changers.

In our book, Sam & Dee’s Greatest Treasure, Sam and Dee share a secret chant, and it goes like this:

Forever we treasure where we’ve been
Forever we stick through thick and thin
Forever we promise we’ll never give in
Never, never, never, never
We!
Forever!

The message contained in Sam and Dee’s secret chant carries them through a difficult season in their friendship. They promise to stick together no matter what. I don’t think they could have made that promise if they didn’t remember where they’d been and all they’d been through–together.

The core message of Forever We is that we belong to each other, and it’s our mutual devotion, not our circumstances, that bring us together. The Forever We community is a team, and we’re inviting YOU to join us.

We dream of a world that’s not about you and it’s not about me. It’s about the power of WE.

Will you run with us?

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