24 Sep
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We’ll Go With ‘Passionate’

black and white photo of boy holidng football pads, helmet

B: “Mom I think people would say you’re passionate.”

It was 7:15 a.m., and we were heading out of the driveway to get my tween to school. I’ve learned he almost always picks the most random times to bring up topics that need a little work to get through. Deep breath.

Me: “Would you call me passionate?’

B: “For sure. When the coaches say to fire up, I think about how you are sometimes.” Seriously, kids miss nothing.

Me: “I do really care deeply about a select few things and other things not so much.” Really I’d say I’m emotional, a feeler to the nth degree and slightly over-the-top, but we’ll go with passionate.

B: “I think people know what you really care about. It means you’re paying attention to stuff. Someday I’ll find my passion.”

Me: “You find the passion, run with it, and I’ll cheer you on.”

There may have been an eye roll when he decided the conversation was over and turned on an audiobook.

I knew what this was about. I showed my passion last night at a football game in the form of yelling, foot stomping, and screeching. I’m sure I should say I regret it, but I just can’t. I do, passionately, believe what I was witnessing was wrong in the form of adults allowing testosterone driven tween boys to do what has clearly been said is not allowed. It’s confusing to tell your son one thing, him watch someone else get away with it and him still stay the course for what is right.

I was filming the game as a favor for one of the coaches. I had been paying attention to the game, every single play with video camera in hand. I’ll be honest. I’m not always present every second of every athletic event. I distract myself at tackle football games a lot. I enjoy chatting with my friends while we watch our boys play, and I don’t always like what I see on the field. Last night was one of those nights.

There were players on the opposing team tackling in ways my boy has been taught not to, players stepping on other players getting up off the grass or using a player’s head to push themselves off the ground. The referees were letting a lot slide, and I was done. If my child stepped on another player intentionally, I expect the coach to yank his football-pants-wearing rear end off the field. If he doesn’t, I will. That person may be your opponent, but he’s a person. We don’t treat people poorly for the sake of a win, a trophy, a scholarship, a grade, etc.

Winning is wonderful, but I’m more concerned with the manner my kids win or lose. I’d rather them lose every time they step on a court or field and know they did it with good character intact, than win a championship tarnished with questionable actions.

My parenting goal is ultimately to raise children who have a strong moral compass directing them toward what is the right thing to do and contribute to the world we live in. I don’t require anyone to be THE best at anything. Be YOUR best.

I entrust my kids to teachers, coaches, referees, and dance instructors and expect them to share this notion of wanting our young people to be good, upstanding people capable of making sound choices. A football coach wants to teach football, but those boys look up to him. Insert any sport, classroom, Sunday school, or the never-ending list of school-sanctioned clubs in that sentence. Don’t take working with children lightly. They look to adults for examples on how to be adults. Carefully evaluate what you’re letting slide in front of them.

I’ve heard my boys talk about how great life would be without rules. It wouldn’t. People need guidance, some more than others. There are rules to help understand the difference between a good choice and a bad one, even in football.

I don’t always put my best self in front of my children. I make mistakes. I apologize. I don’t stand there and make the same poor choices for hours. I can recognize when my guiding compass is skewed and recalibrate. I wish more adults would see their work as more than teaching a subject, winning a competition, leading a school. We’re raising the next generation, collectively. Let’s agree to set good examples as adults, and I’ll work on keeping my passion in check.


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