If anyone knows me, they know that I love sports. My tweets are full of endless banter about any sports session that’s going on. My 7-year-old girl is a little jock. She plays everything, jumps into it, and plays with endless passion. Wins ice-skating tournaments, scores a million goals, just goes for it! My 5-year-old boy played T-ball this year and was very cautious on the field. Totally opposite from his sister. His heart is so beautiful and kind that he hasn’t learned the “Killer Instinct” in sports. He is like a little humanitarian who literally crawls to bed at home right when it’s his bedtime without being asked. We signed him up for soccer and he’s having second thoughts. He said something last night that crushed me. “Dad, I don’t want to play soccer because I’m no good.”
This statement broke my heart. He said this without even kicking a ball. Frankly, I wept at the thought that my precious boy feels that way. I try so hard not to put pressure on him but I asked myself the question, “Am I in subtle ways putting anxiety upon him with my expectations?” Then I thought about all the times I rolled my eyes when he got scared of a ground ball or when on the way home my little tips were told from a tone of frustration more than encouragement. I went outside and begin to weep. I prayed, “God, please give me wisdom so that my boy never feels for one tenth of a second that my love is conditional.”
ACTIVITIES WERE MEANT FOR KIDS TO ENJOY, NOT TO FEAR.
I wiped the tears off my face, hugged my boy, and told him he’s going to do just fine playing soccer. I then told him all the wonderful qualities he possesses. He lit up like a Christmas tree. I don’t know why we place a level of fear upon our children in life. It could be a subtle glance on the T-ball field or one single negative statement that can take all the fun out of an age where everything should be celebrated. Somehow, my boy dreaded the idea of playing a sport because he worried that he would let me down. If that’s how he feels, then somehow I let myself down and perhaps God, too. I never realized that this boy felt he was letting me down. I have decided to encourage him, motivate him, and champion his passions and love every single second of that little rascal’s life.
This soccer season, I’m going to sit back and watch my son grow up…stress free. Whatever he chooses to be passionate about I’m all in! He’s my boy and I love him. I refuse to be that parent that tries to navigate his or her children’s futures based upon their own failures. This child is God’s child and I’m going to let him grow into the man he is meant to be. No more subtle looks, no more parenting hoping my boy loves what I love. The day of parenting out of fear is over! The day of parenting out of faith is now! Lord, please help me to properly mentor and nurture what already belongs to You.