The coach of a Buffalo little league team called one of his players over to him and said that he would like to explain some of the principles of sportsmanship. He said, “We don’t believe in temper tantrums, screaming at the umpires, or using bad language. Do you understand?” The boy nodded. “All right then,” said the coach, “I want you to go over there into the stands and explain that to your father who is jumping up and down and screaming.”

Most people behave well when everything is tranquil and friendly. But character is revealed under stress — when we are angry, frustrated, or afraid. We need persons who are at their best under pressure, people who can disarm angry opponents with a calm truth, people who are slow to place blame and quick to applaud virtue. Resolve today that you will keep your lid on even if people all around you are blowing theirs.

(Bill Bouknight, Christ United Methodist Church, Memphis, TN)

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