Squeaky Jensen

It’s time to share one of my favorite stories. It’s one I included in an article and then later a book I wrote on talents. (I Didn’t Place in the Talent Race)

When he was in high school, one of our neighbors, we’ll call Steve,  admits he didn’t always get the kind of support so many kids are lucky enough to get from their parents. Steve ran track, but his parents rarely attended his competitions. But Steve had a best friend named Squeaky Jensen. Squeaky was a runner as well, but after he ran, Squeaky would hurry over to where Steve was racing. There he’d be at the starting line shouting, “Go Steve, you can do it!” But Squeaky didn’t stop there. He’d cut cross the field so that when Steve came around, there he’d be again on the other side. “You’re doing great, Steve! Go! Go!” And then as Steve neared the finish line and his legs were turning to rubber, there would be his buddy again. “Come on! Come on! You’re almost there! You can do it!”

“To this day,” said Steve, “I don’t know if I won those races because of any great talent or ability I had for running, or because of a good friend who had the talent of cheering!”

I’m convinced that the greatest talent is that of encouraging and appreciating others. Who would be in the audience if only the singers and actors and performers counted? And when it comes to our friends, it’s sometimes almost easier to be supportive when they struggle than when they succeed. Again, it takes a special kind of love and talent to cheer for and encourage, and be sincerely happy when others succeed.

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