Every four years, the world’s attention turns to the summer Olympic Games. For a few days, men, and women from around the globe gather to compete against the best. Amazing records are broken, and new ones are set at these games. Just a few decades ago, track-and-field experts proudly declared that no runner could break the four-minute-mile barrier. It was said that a human being could not run that distance that fast. “Experts” conducted all sorts of profound studies to show it was impossible to beat the four-minute barrier, and for years, they were right. Nobody ever ran a mile in less than four minutes but one-day a young man came along who did not believe the experts’ opinions. He did not dwell on the impossibilities. He refused to let all those negative words form a stronghold in his mind. He began to train, believing he was going to break that record. Sure enough, he went out one-day and broke the fourminute- mile barrier. He did what the experts said could not be done. His name was Roger Bannister, and he made sports history. Now here is what is so interesting about the Roger Bannister story. Within a month, the Australian runner John Landy had broken Bannister’s record, but Bannister had the satisfaction of beating Landy at that summer’s British Empire Games in Vancouver. In a race billed as “The Mile of the Century,” both runners beat the four-minute time, but Bannister came in first at 3:58.8 to Landy’s 3:59.6. Within 10 years after Roger Bannister broke that record, 336 other runners had broken the four-minutemile record as well! Think about that. For hundreds of years, as far back as statisticians kept track-and-field records, nobody ran a mile in less than four minutes; then, within a decade, more than three hundred people from various geographic locations were able to do it. What happened? Simple, the barrier to running a four-minute mile was in the athletes’ minds. For all those years, runners believed what the experts were saying. They were convinced that it was impossible to run a mile in less than four minutes. ROBER BANNISTER IGNORED THE BARRIERS … In life there are statements that can encourage and statements that discourage, I call them “basement and balcony statements.” Basement statements are the discouraging reports that cause us to question our ability. They may be accounts from our past, or present, but the words go with us everywhere we go. They are the negative thoughts that influence in our lives and the words go something like this: “You can’t do that.” “That’s a stupid thing to do.” “When are you going to get it right?” “You will never get it right.” “You will never amount to anything.” Basement statements divert us from our hopes and dreams. They constantly point out what is wrong, rather than what is right. In contrast to them are the “Balcony Statements.” They are reports full of encouragement and cheer us on. They encourage us to be courageous and determined. They thoughts that settle in the balcony of our minds like a home team cheering section, saying, “You can do it.” “We believe in you.” “You are special to us.” Balcony Statements are the great encouragers in our lives, and we all need them! As a city we have had both. The question we had to answer was will we be guided by statements from the basement or statements from the balcony. Will we be a basement or balcony guided City? The choice was ours to make. Years ago I picked up a poem named “The Choice.” I do not know where I got it nor the author, but it illustrates the importance of building up. This poem raises the question of whether we will “tear down or build up.””I watched some men tearing a
“I watched some men tearing a
building down, a group of men in
my home town.
With a heave and a ho and a
mighty yell, They swung the ball
and a side wall fell.
And I said to the foreman, “Are
these men skilled, the type you’d
hire if you want to build?”
And he smiled, then laughed and
said, “No indeed, common laborer
is all I need.
For we can tear down in a day or
what it took a builder years to do.”
As I turned, I shook my head, I
knew there was truth in what he
And I thought to myself as I
walked away, which of these roles
am I going to play?
Am I a builder as I work with care,
measuring life by the rule and
Am I shaping my deeds to a welllaid
plan, carefully doing the best I
Or am I a wrecker as I walk the
content with the labor of tearing
There are many signs that attest to the fact that we live in a Balcony City. Let us continue moving forward as we build for the future. As we prepare for Spring, remember that it teaches us one on many things and that is, “what appears lifeless on the surface is still alive beneath and when the conditions are right the life will reappear on the surface
God Bless America,
God Bless Our City
And God Bless You all.