“Each [one] must set aside all illusions and accept the other as he or she actually is: an unfinished product, needing to grow, a work in progress.”

– Pope Francis

My kids are blessed with great aunts and uncles. Not only are my siblings and their spouses wonderful, but I am also grateful to have in-laws that are the furthest thing from outlaws. My wife and I currently find ourselves beginning the normal but challenging tweenage “angst” years where nothing we say is right and every piece of parental guidance or correction commences a nuclear reaction.

Thankfully, there is Uncle John. My brother-in-law John is that crazy uncle – life of the party, funny in a borderline inappropriate way, but with a heart of gold. He is the only person who does not elicit an eyeroll when he provides basketball advice to our 12-year-old daughter as she gets deeper into the sport. Her team hasn’t won a game yet and she wanted no family spectators to attend. However, when word came that Uncle John was coming, her face lit up. With his own children’s basketball careers, John has perfected the “hype video.” He records every basket, every block, every rebound. He then slices and dices these clips and puts them alongside an amped up song that makes any player look like LeBron James for 15 seconds. When my daughter Katie watched her hype video from Uncle John, I hadn’t seen her smile that much in weeks.

As I watched her proudly show the video to others, I thought about the important balance I often teach, and just as often forget, when it comes to feedback. As a leader I address things that go wrong. I like to think that I also say thank you regularly for good work. But do I set out to record the highlights? Do I take time to string all those clips together? Do I take the time to show the players on my team their hype video? In our mutual journeys toward sainthood, are we reflecting only how far we must go, or are we also hyping each other up about how far we’ve come? Perhaps Katie was more open to Uncle John’s coaching because he captured all her best shots and let her see for herself how much potential she has. Whether in our families, workplaces, communities, or church, let us be people who play back to each other just how much God believes in each and every one of us.

by Daniel Cellucci

February 10, 2023

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