Deloris Jordan and Roslyn M. Jordan authored this encouraging children’s book about Michael Jordan and his pursuit of his dream to be a great basketball player. This book was one of my son’s Christmas presents when he was five. It was the same Christmas that I gave my daughter “Dancing in the Wings” by Debbie Allen. While neither of them probably understood the richness of these two books under the tree, these books held treasures of encouragement, empowerment, and enlightenment for them and for me as a parent seeking to be a part of excellent villages for my kids.
The Jordan family told a story of a young boy who struggled with holding fast to his dream inspire of his current situation. Young Michael, like most children, believed that his current state would be his permanent state. Children see life very literally and what they see with their eyes and hear with their ears often becomes the truth that shapes their futures. Excellent villagers must continuously speak about potential for greatness that the young, inexperienced mind is not yet able to fathom. Excellent villagers must speak with excited, welcoming voices when children dream aloud in your presence. Excellent villagers motivate children to keep dreaming and coach the children about ways to realize their dreams. Excellent villagers also make efforts to find people more knowledgeable about the subject of the dream or who have more time or means to aid in supporting the young dreamer. The excellent villager becomes a safety net for the child to protect the child if there are hiccups in the child’s plan or if the plan evolves into some other unforeseen dream or vision.
I loved reading this book at bedtime to my five year old son. My boy was in the hundredth percentile of every category on the pediatric chart for child development, but he still wanted to be taller. Because my son loved the book so much, I read this book to classes of young children and they love it too. It seemed that most of the young boys I read to, including my son, doubted that their gene pools would grant them more size. My son didn’t realize that he was a product of two gene pools that have produced some large bodies. Because I knew his genetic history, I didn’t doubt that he would develop into a large individual at some point in his life. But, for my young boy the growth spurt could not happen soon enough. I had to repeatedly respond to his inquiries about whether or not he was taller and I had to watch him routinely stand next to me using his hand to measure from the top of his head to a spot on my body that was never level with the top of his head. His biased measurement always confirmed his proclamation that he was growing taller.
The invitation into the Jordan home taught me to remain steadfast and calm in my support of my kid who dreamed of being taller. Deloris Jordan’s teaching moments with Michael were loving moments of unscripted exchanges between her and her boy. During those moments, she encouraged him to maintain hope that he would develop physically while she planted ideas about other choices he could make to enhance his development spiritually and athletically. Although Michael’s mom and dad experienced moments of concern during his childhood, they continued to provide opportunities for him to voice the reasons for his sadness and his disappointments. His parents listened and reaffirmed to him that he possessed everything he needed to be successful: passion, determination, and opportunities to practice and pray.
These wise parents communicated to their son that waiting for growth is often an exercise in patience, trust, timing, hard work, and an infusion of something that makes the moment feel magical and illogical. In this case, the illogical ingredient to success was found in Deloris Jordan’s advice that Michael put salt in his shoes at night. According the book, Michael trusted her strange suggestion because she made the rose bushes in her garden grow taller. Throughout Michael’s childhood, readers witnessed a consistent offering of support and encouragement by his parents. Michael’s parents fueled his passionate efforts to live his dream by listening, praying, counseling, and putting salt in his shoes at night. As my insides warmed with excitement about the parenting and dream chasing at the Jordan house, my five year old was focused on growing taller, faster, and better at sports. It wasn’t until I saw a trial of ants in his room leading to his shoes that I realized that the lesson he took away from the book was not the same heart-warming theme I grasped. He learned that he needed salt in his shoes at night. The only problem was that he used the other white granular substance from the kitchen cabinet – sugar.