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First off, if you haven’t seen the meme of the moment that is today’s topic:

If you’ve ever been in a room where Latter-day Saint children sing the Primary song “Jesus Wants Me For a Sunbeam,” you know why this is spot-on funny. “Sunbeams” is the name for the class for 3-year-olds in the church’s Primary organization, and they love to belt out that word.

If we’re honest — and 3-year-olds are super honest and energetic — many of them tend to yell it, perhaps because the first time they sing the word “sunbeam” in the chorus, the note goes up, adding unavoidable emphasis.

The incident pictured in the meme above happened during the Super Bowl, in case you missed it somehow, and it was followed by so, so many hot takes out and even think pieces.

Travis Kelce issued an apology for bumping and screaming at coach Andy Reid — but something else stood out: Reid’s calm demeanor and reaction.

Reid is a BYU alum and a Latter-day Saint, which adds relevance to the meme.

His reaction, besides stumbling to keep his balance, spoke volumes about him.

First, he is very like his mentor, the late LaVell Edwards. I met and interviewed Andy at the funeral for LaVell, whom I knew for a couple of decades. They share a wonderful characteristic: Besides being naturally kind and big-hearted, they enjoy and abide big personalities.

LaVell’s coaching staff was full of big characters, from Roger French and Norm Chow to Ken Schmidt. So were his rosters, from Jim McMahon to Rob Morris. He loved them all, and they loved him.

Reid, whose nickname is Big Red, relishes the zaniness of Kelce and other players he has nurtured and coached in a career that is certain to end at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“They’re passionate players, man, and I love that,” Reid said after the Super Bowl. “And even if they chest-bumped me to the other side of the 50 (-yard line), I mean, I appreciate it. I just love that the guy wants to play and wants to be in there playing, and he knows I love that. So, it makes me feel young.”

Reid tells his players to be themselves, to be authentic and play with emotion. Of course he teaches them to be smart and not cross the line. Earlier this year, he took Kelce’s helmet after Kelce threw it, to help him cool down after frustration got the best of him.

Reid saw the Super Bowl bump-and-bellow differently than those who would be offended for him. In part because he has taken the time to really know Kelce, and because he appreciates him for who he is.

“He was really coming over just to go, ‘Just put me in. I’ll score. I’ll score,’” Reid explained. “So that’s really what it was. Well, I love that.”

The other thing Reid shares with LaVell is a clear sense of being secure in their own skin, in who they are.

It’s obvious in the clip of Kelce bumping and yelling at Reid. Reid isn’t reactive. The modern Twitter/X model of offending and taking offense calls for someone who is “attacked” to escalate their own emotion immediately to the same level or beyond.

Reid did the opposite. He calmly got his feet under him and then reached out and touched Kelce on the arm. The gesture was the illustration of someone who was seeking first to understand what his player was feeling and what he had to offer.

When Kelce apologized to Reid publicly on his podcast, he said, “I’ve got a certain relationship with him, man.”

The first few times I listened to it, I heard it as, “I’ve got a sacred relationship with him.”

I thought that tracked.

An oral history about Reid in The Athletic in the lead-up to the Super Bowl anticipated Reid’s (non-) reaction in that Super Bowl moment. Three players talked about Reid like this:

Derrick Johnson (linebacker): “He always stresses, ‘Let your personality show.’”

Dustin Colquitt (punter): “And he means it.”

Nick Potter (athletic trainer): “He has this remarkable ability to treat everyone different so they’re all the same. And I always found that fascinating. I think that’s one of his biggest strengths.”

In the days after the game, Tom Brady talked about the incident on his podcast. He also noticed how Reid reacted — or didn’t overreact.

“I actually think coach Reid handled it just awesome,” Brady said. “It just speaks to his leadership ability because some coaches get so sensitive and, ‘Oh, you embarrassed me and you did that.’ ...

“It speaks to the self-confidence that coach Reid has in himself too, because he doesn’t take that personally at all. He doesn’t look at that and feel like someone offended him. He takes it for what it is and doesn’t make it more than it is and doesn’t see, like, someone’s trying to belittle him. Travis is not trying to do any of those things. He’s just trying to be fired up and stay in the moment.”

It’s hard not to hear echoes in there of Elder David A. Bednar’s October 2006 general conference talk.

“When we believe or say we have been offended, we usually mean we feel insulted, mistreated, snubbed or disrespected,” Elder Bednar said. “And certainly clumsy, embarrassing, unprincipled and mean-spirited things do occur in our interactions with other people that would allow us to take offense. However, it ultimately is impossible for another person to offend you or to offend me. Indeed, believing that another person offended us is fundamentally false. To be offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else.”

It also reminded me of the emphasis church leaders have placed recently on having each person see oneself first as a son or daughter of God. That naturally should help us to see every other person we meet as the same, because to God, “each is equal in his eyes,” President Russell M. Nelson said in October 2020.

Another coach might have flared up in anger at Kelce. It easily could have turned into a moment that divided the team on football’s biggest stage.

Instead, Reid exemplified, in a super intense moment, an immense lesson about peacemaking.

Work first to understand the person who comes at you with a big personality different from your own. Treat someone who comes at you with big emotions as an equal rather than as offensive.

You could say it was a superb example of how to build bridges of understanding and cooperation.

About the church

See President Russell M. Nelson’s Valentine’s Day message about the two great commandments.

Read the First Presidency’s Easter message.

The Provo Utah Temple is closing this week for a major makeover and renovation, beginning with its new name: the Provo Utah Rock Canyon Temple.

In Africa, Elder Gary E. Stevenson’s testified of Christ and outreach.

BYU-Idaho President Alvin F. Meredith III wrote this for the Deseret News: “BYU-Idaho: An academically engaging and dynamic disciple preparation center.”

Elder Clark G. Gilbert spoke about the expansive Church Educational System on the latest Church News podcast.

The exact site has been selected for the Jacksonville Florida Temple.

The First Presidency released the groundbreaking date and an exterior rendering for the Teton River Idaho Temple.

The Tabernacle Choir will be in the Philippines next week with these guest performers. The choir also announced fall 2024 ‘Hope’ tour stops in Florida and Georgia.

RootsTech begins next week, and it will include both Jimmer Fredette and keynote speaker Kristin Chenoweth, the award-winning actress and singer.

What I’m reading

A new study landed about faith and entertainment: 80% of viewers worldwide would like to see an improvement in the portrayals of stories about faith.

This is an excellent, intelligent look at what’s real vs. what’s sensational: “Don’t believe Hulu. These are the really-real house lives of Latter-day Saint wives.”

One of the more popular ChurchBeat editions was about “Mormon Row.” Now a paper in Wyoming has done a deep dive on this picturesque — and you really do need to see the images in this story — look at the pioneers who settled at the base of the Grand Tetons near Jackson, Wyoming. Don’t miss the fun fact about Henry Fonda.

Behind the Scenes

Elder and Sister Christofferson pose with three grandsons at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah.
In front of a painting of Christ telling his apostles to go and teach the gospel in all the world, Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles poses with his wife, Sister Kathy Christofferson, and three of their grandsons at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. Two are MTC teachers and the third is a missionary waiting for his visa to Bolivia. | Instagram