Today, I got to serve at Cerner, a large company that helps young adults get experience in the field of computers and technology. They had a 3-hour event outside full of games and food and fellowship.
There were plenty of servers working this event. So many, that my only job was “pop and water”. Since there was free beer there, my job was really only to watch the ice melt on top of the pop and then put more ice on top of it. 3 hours of watching ice melt!
While I was working hard at watching Coke and Mountain Dew get cold, I also found time to people-watch. Out of the 500 employees that came out to this everything-free event, about 490 of them were between 21-25 years old. There were so many young men that were tall, bearded, and wearing plaid shirts. Then, there were the women with colored hair and skinny jeans. No matter how much effort we put in to try to be different, we all really end up alike.
There were groups of young men playing catch with a football that flew my way a couple times. I got my chance to shine as I spiraled the ball back to them and did my victory touchdown sign. That took about 20 seconds off my 3-hour shift. Then, there were those huge balls you jump in and run inside like a hamster. I want those so bad for my property but my dream-squashing kids would pop them - $500 down the drain in 5 seconds flat.
But then I spotted this little gem....
You know this game. I didn’t google how old it is but it at least dates back to the Grease movie, right? It is nicknamed the Strong man’s Game. The player hits the lever and a puck flies up with the goal being to hit the bell at the top. The harder you hit the lever, the higher the puck goes. After making sure my pop was safe, cold, and lonely, I watched the men and women play this “game”. The only reward is to hear the bell ring at the top of the tower but there is something very intriguing about this game that keeps people coming back to it and has kept it popular among carnivals for decades. On the surface, it looks rather boring and useless. What exactly is accomplished here? The only goal is to hit it hard enough to hear the bell. So??
Here is what I observed and learned during my people/pop-watching. The men and women were consistent. One by one, a woman would hit the lever with the mallet and the number would go up to a certain number. She would hit it again and again but only got weaker with lower numbers. Even with cheering and encouragement, they never pounded the hammer more than 3 times.
Then, there were the men. One by one, they each went up. Their first slam of the mallet never hit the bell but here is where they differed from the women. They never gave up. Each man stayed and kept hitting the lever over and over while the puck ascended higher and higher until it hit the bell. No man gave up. Not one. Once the bell was hit, he swung the hammer with a smile and pride. There was no need to keep hitting it anymore because the goal was accomplished. He had reached as high as he could go.
This was totally a Theology of the Body lesson for my teens!! I repeat over and over again to the girls….”Raise your bar and the man will rise to the challenge.” Too many women lower the bar so every man can hit the bar with the first try. But the woman who has her bar set high attracts the men to her. That is where the challenge is. How many men would find the game fun if anyone who hit that lever were able to ring the bell? Once the word got out about how easy that game is, no one would play it. It would be boring and unrewarding.
I ran this blog through my head as I people-watched this game. Girls need to be that bell. Girls need to raise their standards and men will start lining up to try to reach that bell. Sure, some men might give up but none of them did who chose to play that game today. If a young man didn’t think or want or care to ring that bell, they just didn’t play at all. The type of young men interested in my daughter are the type that see the high bar and don’t walk away. They stay and rise to the challenge. They stay until they hear the bell – the wedding bells.
And as I ran this analogy through my head, someone else was pouring ice over my pop. I only had one job……..