I Saw Virtues Cultivated as We Built a Home
By Rachel Falco
As I anticipated going on a Hope Sports Home Build, I was very much looking forward to learning more about how purpose-based identity could cultivate better athletes and psychologically healthy human beings. Before the build began, I had little idea how meaningful the experience would be for me. Although these athletes and I came into this experience with the intention to give to others, many members of the group spoke of how much they in fact received themselves. The experience gave a group of elite athletes from vastly differing backgrounds the opportunity to come together and create something for a family in need. Taking part in a new activity such as building a home not only leveled the playing field with regard to skills, but additionally, it gave us the chance to engage in acts where perfection was not attainable or necessary. Working on this project for a family in need without perfectionistic standards allowed me the freedom to focus on the purpose of what we were doing, vastly increasing my enjoyment of the process. We were able to partake in something bigger than ourselves while playing a part in something purposeful and meaningful. At the dedication ceremony when the home was completed, tears of joy flowed down many smiling faces. Taking part in this reciprocal act of giving and receiving left a deep impact on me that I will not soon forget.
I was able to see how the action of giving to this family and how the relationships developed while doing the work together were subtly cultivating virtues of generosity, gratitude, hope, and love. The hope instilled in the family receiving the home was movingly apparent as they talked of now having the ability to dream of the future, giving them the opportunity to thrive rather than merely survive. The hours of continual work from every individual displayed a generosity that grew as we worked towards a common goal. The gratitude of both the athletes and the family receiving the house was hard to miss. I could see how the family struggled to put into words the gratitude that they felt as they were receiving a home that would profoundly impact their future. I could also see how the athletes’ gratitude for what they themselves have spilled over into their work ethic and fueled their desire to give to these strangers-turned-friends. Love radiated from these acts, and their emotional and relational impact was palpable. The love shared through the athletes’ service, the love given through the family’s participation and joining alongside us with the work, and the relationships that were built through these interactions have made me more aware of my desire for more of this type of experience in my life.
Author’s Note: This is reflection was based a Hopes Sport Build trip from June 3-6, 2016 in Rosarita, Mexico as part of our study, Self Narratives and Emotional Health among Elite Athletes.
Hope Sports is a nonprofit organization that promotes personal growth and community among athletes through short-term service trips to Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic.
About the Author
Rachel Falco is a former Thrive Center student researcher. She holds a a PsyD in Clinical Psychology at Fuller Theological Seminary. She has contributed to the Thrive Center’s Self Narratives and Emotional Health among Elite Athletes study.
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