A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Teamwork and the “I” in “Team”

Posted on: May 30, 2014

I spent much of yesterday afternoon with my son’s school soccer team as they played their last exhibition games. Clearly the team members know the saying, “There’s no “I” in team.” A few things I noticed impressed me:

  • They listened to their coach.
  • Even when they were waiting to play, they cheered on their teammates.
  • They worked hard in whatever position the coach asked them to fill.
  • They congratulated everyone who took part in scoring a goal.
  • At times they were behind in points or were tired, but they never stopped working.

This group of 13- and 14-year-olds could teach us a few things, both in our families and in our spiritual families:

Listening to our coaches. In our families, do we listen to and take advice from our coaches—our parents, grandparents, godparents, aunts and uncles, spouse? In our spiritual families, do we read God’s word, spend time with Jesus in prayer, and ask for more of the gifts of the Holy Spirit? Do we listen to the priest’s homilies and receive the sacrament of Reconciliation?

Cheering on our teammates. Do we encourage and pray for our family members in their jobs, schoolwork, or community or extracurricular activities? Do we encourage the members of our spiritual families and thank them for their hard work—the parish secretary who keeps things in stock and organized or the teams that provide the worship music, decorate the worship space, run the children’s liturgy, and so on—and pray for them?

Working hard in whatever position we’re asked to fill. As parents, we may serve as cook, chauffeur, cleaner, repair person, tutor, and so on. And our children learn by watching us—our skills as well as our attitudes. Do we serve “as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to men” (see Ephesians 6:6-7*), or do we grumble and complain? In our spiritual families, do we help where needed—taking on ministry roles in someone’s absence, volunteering for jobs that need to be done, or serving where our priest has asked for our help?


Do we work together to hit our targets–and thank everyone for their efforts?

Congratulating everyone who helps achieve a goal. In our families, do we recognize the part that everyone plays in cleaning our spaces for a yard sale, saving for a family trip, or even getting the laundry or dishes done and put away—even with a thank-you or a hug—or do we just nag and expect things to get done? In our spiritual families, do we take time to thank the people who make the parish picnic happen; organize the Christmas pageant or youth events; or make services such as Confirmation, First Eucharist, or regular Sunday Masses run well?

Working even when we’re behind in “points” or tired. In our families, do we keep trying even when it’s hard—to help our children succeed in school, pursue activities that develop their God-given gifts, or learn important life skills; to develop our own skills by becoming more organized or more aware and in control of our spending; or to spend more time reading the Bible, praying, and deepening our faith life? In our spiritual families, do we keep trying to attract newcomers by being welcoming; to draw families to our parish with children’s liturgy, youth ministry, and family-friendly activities; or to help parishioners grow in their faith by offering opportunities for Eucharistic Adoration, praying the rosary, running prayer groups, and having Catholic Women’s League or Knights of Columbus groups?

In our families and our church families, may we remember that we are all part of the same team—the body of Christ, as we read in 1 Corinthians 12:12, 26-27:

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. . . .If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.

And may we remember the only “I” on our team—the great “I AM” (see Exodus 3:14):

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”

(*Scripture quotes taken from the Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition.)


Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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