Judge not. It’s a pretty basic rule but its one we violate all the time, especially when we have too much time on our hands.

For the past two summers, my son has been on the city swim team. Every morning as he does lap after lap of freestyle, backstroke, breast stroke and butterfly, I chat with the other moms. We discuss home improvements and we watch each other’s kids swim, run and play soccer.

You know how it is – when you have 100+ kids together you are going to see a full range of behaviors from the kids and hear a full range of comments from the moms.  “They just aren’t like we were.”

Maybe not, but sometimes they are a whole lot better than anyone I knew as a teen.  At our first regular swim meet, a swimmer I’ll call Alex drove this point home.

Working as a scribe, I was at the edge of the pool all night. Up close to the action – both the good and the bad. I hate watching a young swimmer struggle and that night I had to fight not to go in the water. One of the little bitties (some as young as 4 years) panicked as he dove in. Instead of swimming down the lane, he clung to the rope in hysterics. The coaches could not get him to move.

The next thing I knew, Alex was in the water heading straight for the little guy.* First, he repositioned the boy’s goggles. Then he started talking. “Come on. Just a few strokes. You can do it. I know you can.” He never did get the boy to swim but Alex tried and he was in the water right along side him. Later he stopped one of the moms and told her how badly it hurt him to see the younger swimmer so scared.


Sure, there are teens out there who are serious players – into and out of all kinds of trouble. But there are also great kids like Alex, kids that other kids are drawn to, not for all of the wrong reasons, but because they reflect His light into the world.

If only we will let ourselves see it.


*No, you can’t do this without the other swimmer being disqualified, but because he was hanging on the rope, he was already DQ’ed.