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Kids and Sports

Kids and Sports

Do you have kids playing sports?  I can hardly contain myself from passing on motherly advice today.  My kids are grown and at the age where they can start a family of their own.  Having said that, it is way too late to correct the wrongs done as a parent.  However, as I pass by baseball fields filled with little league baseball teams and T-Ball teams, stands of passionate parents and the smell of hot dogs warming in the concession stand, I feel compelled to pass along some advice to young parents.

There is now a sign posted at the baseball/softball fields where my girls, mostly our older daughter, spent many years playing softball.  The sign posted at the entrance to the fields reads: “It is only a game, these are just kids, and your children do not play for the New York Yankees!”  If you have kids in sports, then you can totally understand the passion that comes from watching your kid play; especially when they demonstrate above average athletic ability.

So, my purpose in writing this blog today is to pass along some very valuable advice I hope every parent will heed.   As my mother always said, “Hindsight is always better than foresight”  and I am passing along my “hindsight” to you!  You can apply this advice to any child, regardless of their interests and natural abilities.

Our oldest daughter demonstrated above average athletic ability when she was a very young girl.  She could hit a baseball with a bat at the age of two.  In elementary school she could stretch out and grab a pop fly from first base with no effort at all.  In middle school, she mastered the game of volleyball!  In high school, she could block every shot from the other team on the basketball court.

She was a fantastic athlete.  However, her only real passion was a love for the game of softball.  She would spend her weekends rounding up the neighborhood kids, set all the bases up and assign everyone to teams. We lived on an acre of land and the side yard made the perfect softball field.  This is where she spent her spare time.  It’s where any of us spend our spare time, right?  We spend our spare time doing what we are passionate about!

Like I said earlier, she played many sports; softball, volleyball, golf, and basketball.  She was tall and so “we” saw her potential as a basketball player.  Ok, this is where I want to get your attention.  The key word here is “we”.  There is no mention of our “daughter” in that sentence.  She had potential in every sport but because of her height, her father and I got tunnel visioned on basketball.

She quit basketball her junior year because she hated it so much.  Sadly, it was too late for her to get on the softball team.   Her senior year of high school, she “watched” her old softball teammates win the State Championship title without her.

When we become parents, it is our greatest desire to see our kids flourish and make the most of every potential they have.  But we are in the “forest” and we can’t see the “forest” for the “trees”!  So I am telling you parents of young children this advice today….WATCH WHAT YOUR CHILDREN DO IN THIER SPARE TIME BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT THEY ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT!  She NEVER went out on the drive way to shoot baskets!!!  It is painful as a parent to realize the gravity of what she was robbed of.

She now sits on the bleacher with her best friend and watches his kid play t-ball.  And thankfully, she at least understands how hard it is not to yell from the stands and coach from the bleachers.  Our older kids gain a parents perspective when they see it from a different bleacher!

I remember a profound statement her select basketball coach said to me as we watched her play one day.  Her head was not in the game and I was growing frustrated with her.  Her coach said to me, “I can teach her to play basketball but I can not give her the desire.”  That was it!  She was not living up to her potential because she didn’t have any desire for basketball!

What do you see your children doing in their spare time?  What is their “head” into?  My daughter’s head was “always” in the game of softball.  Don’t make the same mistake we made.  We thought we were bringing out the best of her potential just because she was tall.

Sometimes we need to give our children the space to find their field of dreams!  Let them show you what their passion and desire is!

Are you “observing” or are you “obsessing”?

Psalm 139:13-16 tells us, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.  When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.  All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

Parents, don’t get in the way.  “Observe, don’t obsess!”  Let go and let God show you the desires he has placed in your child’s heart; then they will reach their full potential!  Amen?


Janice Bobanis

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