Raising three boys that love sports really leaves me no choice but to begin each Fall with a cram-packed schedule of practices, scrimmages, games, etc. In the midst of the instant chaos, my heart is weary for the man who helped run this season of the year so flawlessly.
School starts here in a week and I teach. I have tried so hard to keep my time off the same since losing Shane because that was a real draw to teaching for me. Shane used to take off a day or two on short breaks and then we would vacation in the summers. I love the momming that can still happen while teaching and how the teachers in our district ‘mother’ my children when they aren’t with me. Will I always be able to not work in the summers? Maybe not, because I have a Senior this year and I am not sure just exactly how affording everything will work depending on scholarships, etc. A lot of decisions and important moments coming right up, which has been ironically the perfect timing for our Anxious for Nothing series at church!
Our oldest has only ever played one season of football in 2nd grade. Shane picked up the last team chosen…mostly late sign ups and kids who didn’t play the previous year. I can remember him being so relieved after one game that he congratulated the parents and players because not one kid had cried that game and we had gotten our very first, first down! Well, my oldest didn’t fall in love with football as his chosen sport like my other two. Soccer ended up being his passion and still is. This year, his Senior year, he has decided to try kicking for the football team. Picture Adam Sandler in Happy Gilmore…a hockey player showing up for golf. Well, this is Tate…a soccer player showing up for football.
I am a firm believer that kids can do anything they put their minds to. Tate has always stayed in his lane for the most part. He has lived and breathed soccer his whole life and he loves to run. He is the captain of his ECNL team for club and for Varsity and we are in a 6A district. When he gets anxious or needs some time to unpack his mind, he runs. He was running marathon numbers in the days immediately after losing Shane. He discovered about two years ago that he was putting a lot of miles on his legs and started kicking the football to blow off steam. He is a good boy. He has been through too much at his age and he manages to rise above it all every day. He is a leader, plain and simple. I have 3 very different boys, but I am so blessed to say they are all leaders. I believe that all children are born to lead in their own way.
I teach STEM and it amazes me the dynamics of a group. There is always a quarterback. Someone who calls the plays, directs the team, and sees the whole field. The greatest part about this is that if a leader does things right, they will delegate responsibilities to the team. They don’t have to do it all themselves. I actually had a parent email me one time concerned that their child was never paired with their ‘intellectual equals’ and they wanted them to be challenged by others at or above their mindset. I explained that my grouping is completely random and that the important thing for the student to learn is that as a leader, there is no need to take over but to learn from other’s differences and that it’s not always about academic growth. We aren’t all the same and that is a beautiful thing. We actually wouldn’t learn as much if we were. This is the world we live in. We all have strengths.
I have had to listen to my own advice on this subject. Life can really get to be too much. As solo parents, we have to know our limits. We have to find a team and quarterback the heck out of them on behalf of our family. My sister is basically the world’s greatest wide receiver. I can throw anything at her and she will catch it every time. I have friends who are like my very own offensive line. They will stop people in their tracks before they would ever let them mess with me. My little sister is like a running back, quick and direct with her help and encouragement. I can think of every position and see faces of people who are there for my boys and I. It took me a long time to take advantage of the help that surrounds me. I don’t want to lose the game, so I don’t plan to do it alone anymore.
Find yourself a team, draw up some plays, and start handing out assignments. Be nurtured and inspired by those around you. Work together to build up your little leaders and encourage them to take risks. Tate is taking a risk like he never has and I am so proud of him for this. He is straying from his norm and being challenged. He has surrounded himself with a group of people who are lifting him up and encouraging his bravery. One of his coaches that God put in our lives a few years ago and also lost his dad too soon called me the other night and said that seeing Tate in that element, he just had this overwhelming feeling that someone in Heaven was mighty proud. I couldn’t agree more!