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Everybody, Always for Kids

Everybody, Always for Kids

by Bob Goff

Learn More | Meet Bob Goff


When my kids were little, they got really into building go-karts. They would search the garage for any scrap wood they could find, and I would help them cut the boards. Then we’d find some wheels and attach them underneath the boards, making a platform that could roll. Next, we would cut more scrap wood to make seats, then paint them blue and green and attach them to the center of the platform. One of the kids figured out that if we attached a garbage can to the front of the go-kart, it would look like a real car, and we’d have a place for our feet to go. The whole thing could be steered by pushing the front axle back and forth with your feet. It was amazing, and the kids loved the building process and the ice cream we ate while we built.

None of our go-karts had an engine, because none of us could figure out how to put one on. That was okay, though, because one day we discovered that if we put a seat in the back, someone could sit facing backward and kick while the go-kart went down the hill— it worked just like an engine. This was our coolest go-kart design by far, and we couldn’t wait to give it a try.

There was a pack of kids in the neighborhood who all played together. They ranged in age from two to twelve, and I noticed that the twelve- year- old boys were always nice to my kids, who were the youngest. Even though my kids were a lot smaller, the older boys always made them feel included. One of the twelve- year- old boys treated my youngest son, Adam, who was two at the time, like a little sidekick. He kept a close eye out for him and made sure that Adam could join in any games the big kids were playing.

When the neighbor kids saw us pushing our trash- can go-karts up and down the street, they thought it looked like a whole lot of fun and decided they’d build go-karts too. They skipped the trash can on the front, but they figured out how to raise their go-karts on their wheels so they sat three feet off the street. The neighbors’ go-karts could fly down the hill faster than anything we’d ever seen.

Every Saturday the neighborhood kids would strap on their brightly colored helmets and meet at the top of the hill to ride. One day my kids had an idea: What if we planned a race to celebrate all our cool go-karts and see how fast they could go?

When we stopped to think about who was racing, though, one of the twelve- year- old boys thought of something. “Wait,” he said. “If we just race by pushing our carts with our legs, Adam won’t have a chance to win!”

You see, Adam could push only so fast with his two- yearold legs. He didn’t stand a chance against the big kids, and the other kids didn’t want him to feel like he’d lost the race before it even started.

We decided to set up some extra challenges on the racetrack to solve this problem. The kids raced down the hill in their go-karts, but they had to stop at different stations along the way to do things like spin around ten times, eat a donut, throw a ball and catch it five times, and even make up a silly song. Instead of being a race focused on just running fast or steering straight, it also became a race of creativity, balance, catching, and how fast you could eat something delicious. When we made the race about everyone’s talents, even the littlest kids had a fair chance to win.

A man named Paul wrote many letters to some of Jesus’ first followers. Those followers were trying to figure out how to put their brand- new faith in Jesus into action. Paul wrote something like this: “If you want to follow Jesus in the way you live, here’s how you do it— put aside your need to come in first place. Instead of looking to make yourself important, think about how you can make others feel important. Loving others like Jesus means that we’re okay putting ourselves in last place.”

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