I'll be sure to sign my kids up to play sports. I attend their games. I wash their jerseys. I've even been caught wearing the occasional fund raising team-mom t-shirt with my kids number on the back but I sheepishly admit ... I don't love it. At all.
All that to say my oldest son is playing football - for the first time - at the junior high level. The season’s just started and he’s had just a few games. Apparently he's good. Really good. I say apparently because since I don’t like watching sports, particularly football, this is the first time I've ever watched an entire football game from beginning to end. I really have no idea what is going on. I mean I get the basics of it but don't ask me what position he plays or what a blitz is. I've no clue. But even a novice like me can figure out that what he is doing on that field is good. I mean he's always doing the hitting never getting hit. He remains on his feet while the other kids pull turf out of their face masks or if he's on the ground he's the one who comes up with the ball.
Pretty good for a 5'11" 12 year old.
Really good for a hearing impaired kid who plays without his glasses.
After his last game, a tough loss, I anticipated his low morale on the car ride home. When I started with the obligatory run-of-the-mill-generic encouragement my son cut me off.
"Oh I'm OK Mom! I played really good!"
"Yes baby you did!"
"And plus I don't mind loosing."
"You don't mind loosing?"
"No, not at all! I'd rather play a hard team and loose than kill an easy team!"
I'm not kidding you. These were the words that came out of my son's mouth.
And since he can't even remember to brush his teeth everyday I was stunned.
He continued, interrupting my shock, "I mean, when you play against a hard opponent you really have to work hard. And that's the only way to get better, Mom. Is by working hard."
He is right, of course. So painfully correct. Which is a great reminder for all of us. I mean, how many of us work to avoid hard work? How many times have we complained, even in front of our kids, about needing to go above and beyond on the job, in life and in our relationships?
The truth is most of us do only as little as possible. As very little as possible.
Most of us, if we admit it, don’t like hard work and we probably never will. But as my big lug of a son reminds us it is necessary to improve. Hard work is required in order to succeed.
So when you see me at the next football game, you’ll notice I may not be wearing school colors or cheering the loudest, but know that my heart is bursting on the inside. For that rough and tumble, testosterone induced game of pigskin has taught my son one of life's greatest lessons. It has also reminded me to put a quash on my own complaining and roll up my sleeves the next time I find myself in a challenging situation. Why? Because I’m the mom and I said so! That’s why!
Stephanie Sikorski is a Parent Educator for the Monmouth-Roseville School District and a blogger for multiple websites. She can be reached at ssikorski@ mr238.org