It was a warm sunny morning as we watched our daughter warm up for her first game. It was an exciting feeling knowing that we were now going to be soccer parents. The coach was friendly and all the parents were just as eager as we were for the season to begin. It was going to be the first time our children would be playing in a league sport. As the game got underway I quickly realized that maybe our daughter wasn’t as athletic as I had hoped. I watched the other children scoring goals and watched them attack ball with aggressiveness. Then I see Haylen laughing with the other girls on the team just watching the ball go right past her. Were we the parents that had a child that wasn’t athletic or was I just jumping to conclusions because for once my daughter had to work hard at something?
I am the type of parent that truly believes that you must work hard for what you want in life despite road blocks. There are winners and there are losers. There are people that succeed and there are people that fail. However, there is an in between. There are those that have tried, failed, and picked themselves up to try even harder to become successful.
Haylen was only in the kindergarten league when I questioned whether or not we made the right decision putting her in soccer. I imagined that my kid would go out there not knowing the game and dominate. Everyone would tell me, “Wow, she’s really good.” Or “How long has she been playing?” That wasn’t the case for us. My daughter was the timid, non-aggressive child. She would rather socialize. It took me after the first season and a little pep talk from Harvey to realize that our daughter had her work cut out for her. Why would we give up the first season because we thought she “wasn’t good enough.” How did we know as parents that she wasn’t good enough. I just had a very high expectation about how this soccer scenario was to play out, but of course reality hit.
I tell other parents that the reason we signed Haylen up for soccer was to help her understand what it means to work as a team, build her confidence, and allow her to be apart of something that is bigger than her self. If those were my true intentions than that meant not giving up on her. That meant pushing her, motivating her, teaching her, and loving her.
Underneath that timid, shy face is a girl that is furiously competitive. Haylen hates to lose. Over the past two years I have watched her grow and mature into a young lady. I have watched her soccer skills go from nothing to having a voice on the field. The first two years of Haylen’s season openers were probably not her best games. She would tell me how nervous she was and when the games started she would hide back in her shell. This year, her third year, it was different. I saw a different girl who moved with the ball with quickness anddirectness. She was shouting to her team mates that she was open for a pass. I had to ask Harvey several times if that was Haylen. You could see her begin to read passes and push through without hesitation.
As parents our job is to protect, nurture and guide our children. We sometimes make the mistake of deciding what our children can and cannot do. We tend to allow them to give up quickly if something doesn’t come easily. Predetermining what our children can and cannot do is ultimately setting them up for failure. I know that somewhere down the line Haylen may not want to do soccer or any sport, but I want to know that she tried. She tried something outside of her comfort zone and either succeed or failed. I want her to understand that sometimes we aren’t good at everything, so what dowe do next? Problem solve. Change it up and try again.
We are our successes. We are our failures. We teach. We try. We motivate. We keep moving forward.