Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Unlikely Champion and "Queen of Katwe" movie trailer

Disney has a new film coming out called "Queen of Katwe." It's based on the true story of Robert Katende and Phiona Mutesi from Uganda. Phiona grew up in the slums of Katwe, Uganda and she came upon Katende and a group of children playing chess in a church building (not the type of church building we imagine here; think makeshift). Katende starts to teach her and guide her, building her confidence, not only in chess but in herself. She finds herself competing in local chess matches and then winning international competitions. Their story proves that champions can come from the most unlikely of places. "Queen of Katwe" opens Friday, September 30 nationwide!

As I've said before, I love underdog stories. A girl from the slums of Africa winning international chess tournaments and eventually having her story become a feature Disney film - that's good stuff to me. I believe God allows underdog stories because that's what all stories truly are. We are all underdogs, living life on a broken planet in sinful bodies. And yet, He uses us to complete His work! 

I wrote about my son in another blog post about the movie "Greater," but I cannot help but look to him again. When we think of champion, we think of sports generally, but I believe that overcoming challenges is another way to be a champion. My son is young and has many challenges to overcome for the rest of his life.

One area of his life where he struggles is friendship. He thinks everyone is his friend, but that doesn't always mean others feel the same about him. Most of the kids in his class have grown accustomed to him, some not so much. One girl in his class literally ignores him and avoids him when we have seen her in public. I try not to let one person's rudeness stick in my head because I have seen so many heartwarming instances in my son's life.

We attended swim team practice all summer, despite his not being able to swim (his brother was on the team). Three girls from his class came up every day to talk to him, whether he paid them attention or not. One says she and another friend are taking him to prom. Cute.

Each time Moose has missed school due to a seizure or doctor appointment, one boy in his class is worried sick over him. He's been such a sensitive friend to have. 

We have some girls that come to our house to play or visit the cat. I enjoy seeing them talk to Moose. 

And then there was last year's field day. Moose chose to run in the 400 meter dash. He loves to run even though it's a slow and steady turtle pace (like mother, like son). The rest of the heat finishes before he's around the last bend. And he just trucks along, having a great time. Then the chanting starts of his name. His whole class, then more and more kids from other grades. I'm so glad I had sunglasses on because I was a blubbering mess. Any special needs mom can tell you how special a moment that is when they realize their child is loved. That's all most of us want for our kids anyway - for others to love them.

Now, I know friendship is not an obstacle overcome on his own. Moose has much work to be done if he's ever going to be invited to a birthday party or even supper at someone's house. Friendship is a two-person deal and I am thankful for the parents of those he can call friend. I know they have spent time teaching their children compassion and how to be a friend, too. 

The world needs more parents like that, teaching about how differences aren't bad, how to accept others as God made them, how to love and care for and appreciate others. This is what tolerance is and this is how we can all become Unlikely Champions.

Disclaimer: I received a Target gift card in return for this post. I also get to give one gift card to an Unlikely Champion in my life or community. Others' opinions about the movie or about overcoming challenges may differ from my own.

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