Before I had children, I would seldom speak up against those who wronged me. I would tolerate the offense and go on with my day. Then I became an advocate for these little people who call me mom. If they were wronged by an adult, or a child old enough to know better, I would not hesitate to politely call them out on it. Unfair teachers, coaches, parents………….if you didn’t treat my children kindly and fairly, you would hear from me. Now don’t get me wrong, it was not a daily or even a monthly occurence. But when my sons teacher kicks a trash can and calls his class a bunch of idiots, you can bet he is going to hear from me. Or when the school principal insists that the kids play basketball on the gym floor in sock feet, he’s going to hear from me.
Now I am faced with a different situation and it is one where I know that I need to just CHILL OUT! My son recently received an invitation to try out for a top notch travel soccer team. It is a team of 16, 17 and 18 year old boys. My son is 13. He was quite flattered by the invitation and gave it his all. He went to every practice (on time or early), spoke with the coach before leaving, to get his tips and feedback. There were 26 kids trying out and only 18 will make the team. He found out this week that he did not make the cut. Disappointment! 😦
Playing for the orange team
The “unfairness” of it all is that the coach told the kids,” if you want to make this team, show me that you care and show up for practice”. The last 2 practices, only 14 boys were present out of 26. My son felt certain that he would make the team and said that he thought he could tell who wouldn’t make it. (confidence and arrogance can be a fine line :)) And then I was ticked that the coach would talk to only my son and not include his parents in this disappointing news. I mean after all, he REALLY wanted this and shouldn’t WE be there to help him through this. I should call him. I should call the coach and tell him all of these things.
On the drive home we talked about his options. The coach invited him to continue practicing with the team and told him that he will hold try-outs again for the Fall season. This means that he will not be playing games for an entire season. OR, he could play with a rec league, OR he could try out for another travel team that practices 40 minutes from here.
That night it occurred to me that I needed to not run interference between my son and this dream. This is a HUGE teaching moment. Is it fair? Maybe it is. Maybe his skill level just isn’t where it needs to be. And maybe LIFE just isn’t always fair. Suck it up and move on. He has some hard decisions to make. Last I heard, he planned to continue practicing with this team because he respects the coach and the players. I am very proud of this kid. While he felt disappointment, he didn’t mope around and talk about how unfair it is like I did! (self talk, not aloud). I see now that if I had called the coach, I would hinder my son’s growth, maturity, and maybe even his spot on the team in the Fall.
There is a difference between being an advocate for young children and teaching them to have the “poor me” syndrome. I want to raise leaders. I want my children to reach their goals by never taking “no” for an answer. And that is why this mama bear is chosing to just chill out!