What Happened to Milton?

DSC_1059 DSC_1060 DSC_1061 DSC_1064 DSC_1065DSC_1062 DSC_1068

Happy Friday, everyone! I hope your week was great. I finished the summer semester of school and labored in making the decision of whether or not I would take classes in the first or second part of the fall semester. I went with the first half, so yes, class started this past Monday. With my schedule over the next few months, I’ll most likely only take classes during the fall semester from now on.

A few weeks ago, I promised to write about bible quizzing. It’s actually something I do at the conclusion of every year that we’ve quizzed, although this year was a little different. The main reason why it was different is because our son didn’t finish the year…at least not the way he normally does. It’s been on my mind because the number one question we were asked all the time was, “what happened to Milton?”

Usually, Milton, my son, will learn a certain amount of verses and attend monthly tournaments all over the state of Florida and sometimes venture out to tournaments in other states. At the ending of the year, there is a final state competition and then the national competition if his team qualified for nationals.

This year that just ended was his eighth year quizzing. For many reasons, we removed him from the team he was on, and he did not complete the actual competition portion of this year. He was in three bible quizzing divisions in three years, whereas a child is normally in one division for three years. For the division in which he was supposed to be, he had learned all of his required material, which was 433 verses…the entire book of Romans, but he learned about 40 verses beyond that. For many people, it might seem as though he failed to complete the year, but it would depend on what you consider a failure to be.

Most people understand the goal of bible quizzing is to have children memorize the Word of God. THAT is the goal. The tournament and the competitive nature of the sport is the tool used to accomplish that goal. Some quizzers are not very competitive by nature, so they might know all their verses and still not hit the buzzer. Yet still, there might be some quizzers who know all their material but lack the experience, or speed, of getting to hit the buzzer first. If you consider all these things, not winning a game or not getting to the buzzer first or not being recognized as one of the quizzers with the highest score is not the real measure of success. If we go back to the goal of bible quizzing, we can see that if a child learned one verse or 500 verses, that’s 1 or 500 more than they knew when they began the year. The truly successful bible quizzer is the one who has learned scripture…no matter how much…period!

Even though we were no longer helping our son with senior quizzing this year, we were still involved in junior quizzing. Also, our good friend was coaching a team in another city in the state of Florida, so we were still following senior quizzing. For this reason, when her team qualified to go to the national tournament, I went with them to help with practice, support, etc.

During the tournament, there was a two-day devotion given by Claudia Walker. She taught about a scripture, Zechariah 4:6, upon which she based her message and her entire coaching strategy. I had heard the verse being used before, but for the first time, it made sense, in a genuine way. I don’t personally know her, but I could sense that she really meant what she said and ran her quiz program by this principle. She seemed extremely genuine and what made it seem that way is that her testimony matched up with what she said she did as a coach.

If you don’t know by now, I love to learn. Below, here is some of what I learned, and what I realized from these lessons.

  1. Bible quizzing is not the place for competition. Say whaaaaat?! This sounds preposterous, but how can you compete against your own body? When the quizzers sit down at the table, if they are quizzing unto the Lord, they are no longer quizzing against the other team. Wow! That one blew my mind.
  2. A coach’s real trophy is not the metal they take home, but the Christian children they are creating. I have coached, and I have worked with coaches. There are many differences in the coaching styles I’ve come across. Some coaches are 98% ministry minded and they want to be fair to all kids involved. They want to win but they focus on building the team more than anything else. They will rotate the quizzers and make sure everyone gets their fair share. They will reward each member on the team with buzzer time as long as they are up to date with their verses. They understand that some quizzers lack the speed and experience of other quizzers and because they respect everyone’s efforts, so they create and environment where everyone can participate. This coach will be happy losing to the another team as long as their quizzers did their best, were obedient to their instructions, and displayed good sportsmanship. This coach will also recognize that the tournaments throughout the year are for practice and they will allow participation for all team members to try to cultivate the strongest team possible. The other 2% of their coaching strategy is the part of them that really wants to win the game/tournament. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have coaches that are 98% focused on competition and will go to great lengths to win, even if it means that some team members don’t get to participate. On a quiz team, you can have up to five members, but many teams have two or three kids. This coaching style will depend on a super star quizzer to the detriment of the other quizzers on the team. This coach will also look to annihilate the team against which they are playing. This coach will say they care about the team they are coaching, but their actions will demonstrate the exact opposite. They will not be inclusive but will be very exclusive. They will limit the participation of team members because their only goal is to win at all costs. This coach will restrict growth in their quizzers. They will keep them from reaching their full potential. They will not allow them to be involved because they don’t ‘trust’ their abilities. This coaching style displays only about 2% of ministry maybe in the form of shaking hands with the other team. The result of this is professional bible quizzing where no one can or wants to participate. Whew! What a mouthful. Yet, I still learned something haha. I learned the perfect coaching blend is one in which the coach displays the ministry portion by allowing participation of all quizzers. Don’t get me wrong, I understand certain strategies are needed to win the competition, and that is fine, but those strategies should not be so exclusive that kids on the team feel as though they are not a part of that team. It should not be to the point where kids are put down while others are built up. The coach with the perfect mix of ministry and competition will use each quizzer’s strengths and weakness, because ALL quizzers have a strength and ALL have a weakness. This coach will remember the GOAL of quizzing and help quizzers reach their full potential.
  3. When it comes to God, there’s no losing, you either win or you learn. I have been feeling this a lot lately. Sometimes at the end of a quiz match, some kids and their coaches will feel as though they ‘lost.’ I don’t look at it this way at all. Going back to the goal of quizzing, how could they possibly have lost? There is one quiz master (the person that asks the questions during the tournament), in my opinion, that announces the ‘winning’ team correctly. He calls them a numerical winner. Every time I hear him say that, it confirms this belief of both teams being winning teams.
  4. Comparison is the thief of joy. We’ve all been there. We’ve all wished something someone else had was ours instead. This applies to bible quizzing as well. When we see the numerical winners, it’s very tempting to wish it was our team that had won, but again, we have either won or we have learned.
  5. Bible quizzing is not the only area where you can be involved. For some people, bible quizzing is not their world. It is a part of their life and they do many other things. For others, it’s all they do, to the detriment of other aspects of life. For instance, in my household, bible quizzing is only a part of what we do. We are involved in other things, and we do other things. Even though his education is parent-directed, my son’s school schedule is extremely rigorous, he plays an instrument, he takes classes at our umbrella school, he has functions and gatherings with his friends, we travel, etc. With all this, he always learns all his verses. I admit, this year was a challenge, for many reasons, but he did learn them all. We took him out of his composition class, his civics class, his computer programming II class, piano lessons, and previously karate, just to make sure he had time for bible quizzing, and in the end, we removed him from that too. It’s easy to say it was all for nothing, but again, if you go back to the goal of it all, then we didn’t lose…we learned. I know he can’t major in bible quizzing in college. He’ll never bible quiz for a living. His schooling actually comes first. If school starts to suffer, then extracurricular activities get rearranged so life isn’t stressful. For us, bible quizzing is the most important extracurricular activity we do.
  6. Watching a less experienced team was very refreshing. It was also wonderful to be with my friend who not only used to be a quizzer, but she loves both of the team members and values what each of them brought to the team. I had a really great time with her and her team. She coached a rookie team at the national tournament, and it was so much fun getting to know the girls and their family members. We had so much fun working with the girls and meeting people from other teams. We painted pottery, drank way too much coffee, and laughed probably more than we should have. She and I went shopping and found some amazing deals! I’ve been posting them in different pictures on here and on Instagram. One of the stores was Forever 21 and the other was NY and Company.
  7. I’m thankful for true friends. The support we received during some trying times this past year was unbelievable. While some people jumped to conclusions about things, others asked and listened to what we had to say…and believe me, we didn’t say much 🙂 We had some unexpected people standing firmly in our corner and they stood behind us all the way.
  8. I was reminded that my hubby is a great judge of character. Sometimes I get a bit blinded by great, swelling words and promises of great friendship, but he’s always spot on about seeing beyond the facade. Sometimes things will trouble him and he’ll say something to me, but I am always so hopeful that by the time I see what he has seen for a long time, it’s too late haha. Thank God for him.
  9. The biggest thing I learned is that my family comes first. I always knew this, but listening to the devotionals just reconfirmed what I already knew. That being said, over the past few months, we have made the tough choice to do whatever or go wherever we need to make sure our family unit is okay.

Sorry for the extremely long post. I’ve wanted to write this for some time now, but since I changed the frequency of publishing posts, and with being busy with school, and knowing I wanted to be true to myself and the reason I started this blog in the first place, I decided to write this. I honestly just believe in being real, being sincere, and being humble.

Before I go, I must tell you about this dress. I received it from Karina Dresses a few months back. Go HERE to see/purchase your own beauty. It is anti-wrinkle! Did you catch that?! You don’t have to iron it. I am not a fan of ironing, so that is a huge plus for me. Every time I wear the dress, I receive many compliments. The color is very vibrant and the print is pretty.

In the slideshow above, I linked to items similar to what I’m wearing. If you have any questions, comments, etc., please leave a comment below or send me an email.

Thanks for reading!


Please follow and like us:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Awesome post. God continues to bless the McNeils. So proud of you D.

    My favorite line was ” with God.. Theres no losing.. you win or learn” #profound

  • I intended to compose you the very little remark so as to thank you very much again for these incredible solutions you’ve discussed on this site. This is really seriously generous with you to deliver easily exactly what a few people might have sold for an e-book to generate some dough on their own, precisely now that you might well have tried it in the event you considered necessary. The techniques in addition worked to be the good way to realize that most people have the same fervor the same as my very own to see more and more with respect to this condition. I’m sure there are some more pleasurable instances up front for individuals that scan through your blog post.

  • I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but your blogs
    really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to
    come back down the road. Cheers

  • I was recommended this web site by my cousin. I’m not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my difficulty. You’re incredible! Thanks!

  • Good day very nice blog!! Man .. Excellent ..
    Superb .. I will bookmark your web site and take the feeds also…I am satisfied to find so many
    useful information right here in the submit, we need work out
    extra techniques in this regard, thank you for sharing.