the other day i was teaching an awesome little five-year-old. this guy has the biggest eyes and the brightest smile and–just ask him–he can do anything.

anyway, i found myself talking to his mom when he wandered off and found one of my “bop it” games. naturally curious little kitten that he is, he asked me to show him how to use it.

if you’re not familiar with the game, “bop it” is like really fast, electronic “simon says” where simon always says. it gives you rapid commands that you follow by bopping, pulling, twisting, flicking, and spinning little do-hickies that are located in various places on the toy. get it right and quickly and it keeps on giving commands. if you get it wrong or are too slow, your turn ends and the computer voice guy says something nice–or snarky, depending on which version you buy.

this kid picked up the nice one.

“bop it” is a fabulous game for focusing, staying calm, keeping a clear mind, and for mind-hand coordination. but it’s really designed for older kids. not an easy game to play at all.

so, this little dude is trying to play the game and keeps getting out on the first try. the thing would say “bop it” and he’d spin it. “spin it” and he’d pull it. “pull it” and he’d flick it. etc. etc. etc.

i felt bad that he couldn’t really play the game and told his mom “it’s really a game for much older kids. i don’t think he can really do it.

and just as i said that, he missed on the first command…again.

and the computer voice guy says in his most chipper encouraging inflection “that’s okay! you can do it!” (the timing couldn’t have been more perfect)

so, the little boy turns to me with a big smile “yes i can! he said i can!”

and, by golly, he kept on playing until he really did figure it out. by the time he was done, he had about a dozen moves in a row…better than a lot of adults i know can do!

all it took was a tiny message of faith and encouragement…from a pre-programmed computer.