Tagged with "teaching"
19 Dec
2017
Posted in: parenting
By    2 Comments

Recognizing My Selfish Parenting

The second day of high school our freshman came home declaring he was going to be a U.S. history teacher. No more engineering or business degree for him. Ninety minutes with his freshman history teacher had changed his life course, or maybe not. He could easily be a professional musician, or coach, or a street performer. The later has crept into conversations ever since a trip to Key West.

Four months of high school has taught me that we are fully immersed in a phase of parenting much different than any we’ve been through to this point. He’s changing, both physically and socially, and redefining who he is and where he wants to fit. More than ever I see our role as parents as guides through this process. We don’t want him to veer into choppy water with illicit behavior and friends that aren’t good influences, but I want him to chart his own course free of what his family and others expect him to do.

In August, a friend told me to prepare for him to “lose his mind.” I thought she was referring to the three worst things I could think of like drugs, alcohol and sex. It’s happening on a much smaller scale that I wouldn’t even notice if I hadn’t given birth and lived with the child for 15 years. There’s a shift in his growing up. It hasn’t been a bad thing, but it’s definitely a THING.

Little things have morphed over the last few months: the clothes he chooses to wear (lots of khaki and black in his closet), his friends have expanded to include new faces (some who are seniors), there’s a wider array of music coming from his bedroom (not necessarily a bad thing), and he thinks more critically about topics but also has most definitely come to the sarcastic side with his mom. The biggest change came halfway through football season. He casually mentioned one day that he wanted to try wrestling and not play basketball. Honestly, I didn’t pay much attention. I wrote it of as spending too much time with lineman who are also wrestlers. He’d never wrestled, but had been playing basketball for years.

American flag hanging over a wrestling mat

The wrestling thing never went away. He clearly had no desire to play basketball. It was wrestling or no winter sport. I found the idea of no winter sport more appealing. The child had never wrestled…EVER. Our exposure to wrestling amounted to watching one match on ESPN two years ago. We’d never even been to a wrestling dual or tournament. We knew absolutely zilch. Even in my sports reporting days, I never covered wrestling. The child had lost his mind.

The germophobe in me tried to dissuade him with a list of communal skin infections he’d be exposed to at practice and meets. He wasn’t grossed out.  I shared my fears about becoming weight obsessed. He shared with me information on what and how he planned to eat. I reminded him that he was likely to not do well. He reminded me there are worse things than losing. He could get hurt. That other person is trying to get you to fully submit. He asked how this was different than football.

Upperclassmen football players gently tried to convince me to allow him to wrestle. Numerous coaches and friends who were former wrestlers joined the pro-wrestling movement. Our son didn’t push, beg or throw a fit. He gave us his reasons for wanting to change sports and left us to decide.

All of my excuses covered the one I didn’t want to verbalize. I like basketball. I wanted to watch him play basketball. I had made this about him taking something from me. I would never sit in his high school gym and watch him score on a fast break. I am selfish. His life is not mine. He’s never lacked confidence when trying new things. I didn’t want to watch him fail. I didn’t want to watch his struggle to learn a sport and compete with people who have been wrestling for a decade. I didn’t want to put together the shattered ego. I didn’t want him to take the hard route when he could just do what he’s always done. I have much to learn in parenting. He wasn’t afraid. He knew it would be difficult. He knew it would take work. He wanted to do it anyway.

So, we have a wrestler. I sit on a different bleacher hoping he doesn’t get pinned. He enjoys teaching us what he’s learned. I’ve enjoyed diving into this mysterious sport to support him with his new love, even if the intensity of some matches makes my stomach roll. Success is slow coming, but losing hasn’t changed his desire to learn and grow.

We’ve faced backlash from friends: “How could we let him quit basketball? He could have been so good. What a waste of height. He’s going to regret it. You can’t let him do whatever he wants.” I’ve heard it all. I gently remind most that our kids are not us. His life is his to lead with me to guide him along the way. A few people I’ve had to remind that he didn’t become a drug dealer. He simply shifted how he saw himself. He’s not a basketball player. He’s a wrestler. Maybe he’s not a chemical engineer. Maybe he’s a history teacher. Maybe he’ll continue to play an instrument. Maybe he’ll decide to stop.

I’ve learned loads in the four months we’ve had a student in high school. Most importantly, my parenting skills have been refined. He’s not a baby that needs his mama present all the time. I don’t need to know what he does during the day, although I really wish I did know. This is the part in the journey where we really let out the reins. We’ve laid the groundwork and now we see what he does with it. The letting go is officially the most difficult part of parenting. I won’t mold his life into what I want it to be. I’ll help him to make his life what he wants it to be, even if that means he doesn’t shoot free throws.


 
For the Love of Everything, Put Down Your Phone
By     |    Oct 17, 2017
Posted in: uncategorized     |    Comments Off on For the Love of Everything, Put Down Your Phone

For the Love of Everything, Put Down Your Phone

Friends who drive, I need a favor. Put your phone down while you’re driving. I know it’s tempting to check email real quick at a stop light or respond to a text. I know the nagging feeling once you get a notification. You’ll just sneak a quick peak. It’ll only take a few seconds. I need other drivers to help me in teaching our son. As parents, drivers, and members of law enforcement, we can talk all we want about... [Read More]

Read more
Coaching and Expectations
By     |    Oct 19, 2016
Posted in: uncategorized     |    1 Comment

Coaching and Expectations

Three years ago when our oldest son started youth tackle football, people told me to be prepared. Tackle football was not for the faint of heart. There was the physical nature of football, but there was also the nature of football coaches for these 5th and 6th grade-age boys. By the third football game of our son’s first season, it was apparent that football coaches were different than any coaches our athletic children had ever been acquainted. Our oldest son’s... [Read More]

Read more
Modeling a Heart for Community Service
By     |    Nov 6, 2015
Posted in: parenting     |    Comments Off on Modeling a Heart for Community Service

Modeling a Heart for Community Service

Near the top of my list of things I was not prepared for when it came to motherhood was the degree of mommy guilt I would feel. That guilt settles in, and I struggle shaking it off. I irrationally feel I have to be at everything in order to validate that part of our children’s lives. It’s ridiculous. It’s fine if dad goes to a school party instead of me. Every assembly doesn’t require parental attention. The kids are allowed... [Read More]

Read more
Relieved about Mothering a Teenager
By     |    Sep 20, 2015
Posted in: parenting     |    Comments Off on Relieved about Mothering a Teenager

Relieved about Mothering a Teenager

I woke up this morning the mother of a teenager, and I feel relieved. Yes, time goes too fast. Yes, I cannot believe our oldest is 13 years old. BUT, despite all the times I’ve felt like I failed our son, he’s thrived for 13 years, and I can see the all those lessons we’ve taught him taking hold. Today I’m patting myself on the back and high-fiving Craig. We’ve been parents for 13 years with no instruction manual or... [Read More]

Read more
One Thing that Changed Our Travels
By     |    Aug 25, 2015
Posted in: travel     |    Comments Off on One Thing that Changed Our Travels

One Thing that Changed Our Travels

I remember five years ago standing in a visitor center making the decision to purchase a book titled, Passport To Your National Parks. I thought the book would be a nice way to remember places we visited but had no idea how much it would change the way our family travels. It was meant to be a souvenir but changed the way we travel. The passport is a blue, small, spiral book where tourists can collect stamps from visits to... [Read More]

Read more
When Serving Seems Like Taking
By     |    Oct 28, 2014
Posted in: uncategorized     |    Comments Off on When Serving Seems Like Taking

When Serving Seems Like Taking

“You’re always helping and never with us.” Truth from my nine-year-old filled me with guilt, even if “never” was a bit of an exaggeration. We were talking about the upcoming annual fall festival at the elementary school my two youngest boys attend. I was telling them about some of the games and how they’d have to help daddy get costumes together before they came up to the school that night. I’d already be up there helping. That prompted the small... [Read More]

Read more
Lesson Learned From a NFL Player
By     |    Oct 8, 2014
Posted in: uncategorized     |    2 Comments

Lesson Learned From a NFL Player

I didn’t go to the Denver Broncos football game on Sunday thinking I’d be able to use my day as a teachable moment for my kids. I went to the game with my husband to visit with friends we hardly ever see and have an experience without my lovely children. We arrived at Sports Authority Field at Mile High almost four hours before kickoff, something we would never have done with four kids in tow. We didn’t really have any... [Read More]

Read more
Parenthood Not Quite Like I Imagined
By     |    Sep 16, 2014
Posted in: parenting     |    Comments Off on Parenthood Not Quite Like I Imagined

Parenthood Not Quite Like I Imagined

It was 9:10 p.m. We had been at the football field for three hours. The sun had set long ago, and the air was chilly. I stood with two friends and my husband when we heard the referee say the words we had been longing for, “That’s time coach.” Followed by an addition we could have done without, “There are eight plays left. Do you want to play them?” Ugh. I wanted to answer for them, ” No. Just make... [Read More]

Read more
Setting an Example for Work Ethic
By     |    Jun 6, 2014
Posted in: parenting     |    Comments Off on Setting an Example for Work Ethic

Setting an Example for Work Ethic

I tend to cannonball right into summer. We’re active, often not at home, and free-spirited with our time. Shortly after summer begins, I realize our home is being neglected. Yes, fun is needed. Of course memory making is important, but weeds also need pulled. Food needs bought and eventually we’ll run out of clean clothes if laundry isn’t washed and dried. Yesterday was a work day at our house, the first real one of the summer. There were groceries to... [Read More]

Read more
Tips for Science Fair Projects
By     |    Jan 21, 2014
Posted in: projects     |    Comments Off on Tips for Science Fair Projects

Tips for Science Fair Projects

Our boys’ elementary school holds a science fair every January for kindergarten through 5th grade. It’s optional for students to complete science fair projects, except 4th and 5th graders. A science fair project is part of the secondary students’ science grade. All three boys have completed projects each year they’ve been in school. I’ve kept every science fair project board…all nine…soon to be 12. The last two years with three kiddos doing projects at the same time has been a... [Read More]

Read more