I’m not much of a sports guy and never really have been. I tried my hand at various sports as a kid and while in middle and high school, but alas, I had neither the genes nor ambition to be very good or super-competitive at sports.
Now my son, on the other hand, is more of a natural athlete—especially when compared to me. He did pretty well in soccer and rugby, but when I asked him what he enjoyed most about playing, his answer surprised me. He said that his favorite part was just being on the team.
Like his father, what he loved most was hanging out, being part of something bigger than himself, enjoying that bond that comes from sharing goals and experiences with others.
When my kids were young, there were times when they treated each other in ways that were the exact opposite of this. They acted as if they were on opposing teams, and they would do whatever it takes to see the other team lose and be punished for it.
As parents, Tina and I felt we had to do something to help our kids get on the same page and on the same team. This was especially important when I traveled for extensive periods of time. I needed the children to be much more of a cohesive and loving unit that pulled together, helped out their mom, helped each other, and lived as if they actually cared for one another.
Team K was born.
Tina and I came up with a way to implant all of this into the heads and hearts of our little band of Kalinowskis. (Get it…Team K?!) We told the kids they were a part of something amazing, something important, and that we needed them to understand this and live more like a team.
We even took them to the mall and had some really cheesy aqua-colored t-shirts airbrushed that said “Team K” on the front. Yes, a matching shirt for each of us in our own size. And we would all wear them occasionally at the dinner table or when it was time to do yard work or serve a neighbor or someone else in the community.
“Come on, kids, Team K time! We’re going out to shovel snow for Mrs. Shole!”
Or, “When I’m out of town for the next few weeks, I really hope that Team K will be super helpful around the house, praying for each other and being a big help to Mom.”
As corny as all of this sounds, it worked. “Team K” became the thing we used to identify our family at its best, a rallying cry to serve others and hang out together. Others began to refer to our family by this moniker also. Many still do.
I know, right now you’re wishing that you could be a part of Team K too.
It wasn’t long before this team spirit was something our friends (and their friends) coveted, getting invited to a family dinner night with Team K. We always had lots of food, laughter, and encouragement to spread around, and you knew everyone was happy that you were there.
There was always an extra place at the table. These meal times, along with our other Team K adventures, were the beginning of a way of life for us—a way of sharing and extending the blessings and grace that God had poured out onto our family.
Our family life was expanding into our community. Our family life was extending God’s family life.
That’s God’s original hope and intention for people–all people–that their lives and families would show the world what he is really like. You may not have been raised this way, I know I sure wasn’t, but as always, the next best time to begin…is now.