Good morning, Five Minute Families! Our household has now had someone sick for over ten days. Unfortunately, a couple of us were worse than the others and recovery has been slow. Healing takes time. And, even after we are contagious, we may not be feeling our best.
Thus has been the case for Jim and Joe, who had it the worst of all of us and are still having a hard time with stamina and respiratory issues. Yet, they re-engaged in life, while still not feeling back to their normal selves. This can present a challenge for those around them. One minute they are up and engaging and the next they are sound asleep. And, sometimes that means missing out on once-in-a-lifetime opportunities – such as Jojo’s first ever team pictures.
Then, when Joe tried to go to his basketball game days after last having a fever, he was fatigued and still coughing a little. His nerves were off the charts, making him nauseous on top of feeling so tired. His coach was kind and reassuring through the nerves. Once Joe felt ready, Coach put him into the game. While Joe was in, Coach encouraged his other players to give him a chance to shoot. Those boys, young and considerate, did so – multiple times, though he didn’t score. Once Joe couldn’t run anymore due to his breathing, he had to leave the game.
Coach cared about Joe’s needs, met him where he was, and encouraged him to keep giving beyond what he had limited himself to think possible. This mama’s heart was so full watching someone pour into my son.
About 50% of children in the United States participate in organized team sports between the ages of six and seventeen. And, while not all children will have a coach in their lives, ALL children have a parent-figure in their lives.
We can’t solve all of the world’s problems, but we must realize just like the three things Joe’s coach gave him on Saturday, we parents (or parent-figures) must meet those three areas plus two more in the parenting realm.
We must care about EACH child. Parents, you will resonate more with some of your children than with others. We see it in life, as parents, as observers, some children are just easier to parent. That does not mean we care for the others less than the easy.
THIS DO NOT ABSOLVE us from continuing to meet our children where they are, caring for them even when their behavior is quite upsetting. Just as Paul in 1 Corinthians 9, we must become Jewish to the Jew, weak to the weak, all things to all people. We, as Christ-following parents, must make changes in our own approach in order to meet each child where he or she is.
We must also encourage them to become better and better versions of themselves. Note, we did not just say better and better. We said better and better versions of THEMSELVES. You must seek God to help guide your child in the way GOD has planned that they should go, not the way you want them to go.
Likewise, parents provide for their basic needs, even when sick or moving slowly ourselves. I asked Joe what he appreciated about me as his mom, and he answered that he liked that I make his oatmeal each morning.
And, last, we should strive to provide new experiences; Joe answered that he appreciated that I let him drive the tractor. Not every child will get to drive a tractor, but new experiences in nature, watching learning youtube videos together, and more do not cost anything and draw you closer.
Joe’s coach knows that some of the players will go on to play high school and college ball, and statistically less than 2% of ALL ball players everywhere will receive a scholarship for their ball playing. But, by coaching the WHOLE team, he builds them each up as a TEAM and as an individual.
The young man seen and included who chooses to stop playing basketball will still know his worth and value, no matter how good or bad a player he or she was. The players who go on to play longer will be the players who include others, building up the whole team, not just themselves.
As parents, we know that not every child will grow up to be the CEO or a department head, but each child can become a success. Parents, are you caring equitably for each child? Are you meeting each one where he or she is, even in the hardest seasons? And, are you lovingly challenging them to give more of themselves in what God has set for them?
Prayerfully seek God’s direction and teach your children self-examination and deeper thinking about who God has created them to be. You can be the best coach your child will ever have, whether you guys ever participate in sports or not. Be blessed!
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