If you’ve been watching any of the Olympics this summer, you may have noticed that the diving pool water is no longer blue… it’s green. What do you think happened to the pool to make it change colors so fast? I have spent some time with the Team USA divers and that is the question all of them have been asked hundreds of times. I was speaking with a diver just yesterday, and he mentioned that after he won a silver medal the question he received most frequently was about the color of the swimming pool. Isn’t it crazy how small things can get so blown up by media that they quickly become big things? For many divers, the color of the pool doesn’t matter. These athletes have worked years for this moment and pool color is the least of their concerns. But so many people and reporters around them seem to make the pool color priority number one. So I asked a few of them, “How do you keep from being distracted by the small things so that you can focus on the big things?” Many of them had a similar reply. They all said something like, “It doesn’t matter what color the water is – I just have to go out there and do my thing. If I let the pool color keep me from doing my best, then all those years of training and preparation are for nothing.”
In many of our students’ lives (and in our own lives), the small things can quickly get blown up to seem like big things. These small things become distractions that can keep us from accomplishing our goals. Much like the Olympic divers, we can become so frustrated by repeated conversations about meaningless things that we’re put in a position to be less than our best. Staying focused when everyone around you is pushing you to be distracted takes a lot of energy and effort. I feel that many of our students struggle with this on a daily basis. They know that things like their personal faith, character, integrity and how they treat others is important. Yet, so many people in their lives are telling them to focus on what they’re wearing, posting and doing. During my time in ministry, I have noticed that teenagers can easily confuse the small things with the big things and get off track. How can we situate our students so that they are able to respond to the “small things” by replying, “If I let these distractions (things people post on social media or the clothes I’m wearing) distract me from being a witness for Jesus Christ to everyone I encounter, then all that time learning and growing in my faith is watered-down”? Distractions are everywhere around us and the more we listen and focus on the small things, the less time we spend living into the people that God designed us to be. Today, let’s be people who focus on the big things.
Insider note about the green water: “Experts” are saying that the water is green because of an algae growing in the water. We think that is incorrect (the pool was blue in the morning and green in the afternoon that would be an incredibly fast growing algae and PH levels are in correct range). Our theory is that the green logo’d banner/screen at the venue dripped dye into pool changing the color. My theory: someone played a prank by pouring food coloring/dye into the pool.