Thursday, November 15, 2007
Do we want Jax to be David Beckham?
Jax just finished his soccer season.
It was fun! It was interesting! It was entertaining!
But Jax wasn't that into touching the ball. He was really into socializing on the field. He wasn't into scoring goals (he didn't), but he was into smiling and waving to his fans on the sideline, giving them the thumbs up as the ball passed him by.
I love this boy!!! He has such a way of melting my heart.
Jax has played one season before, and it was pretty much the same.
He asked if he could play again, so we agreed. But I'm pretty sure he was solely into it for the snacks. Anytime anyone asks him about soccer, that's what he talks about. There were some pretty elaborate snacks last year when we played, so that could explain it.
I know that Jax is gifted by God. He will be really good at something, and it will be useful for the Kingdom. I don't know whether team sports is his thing. But I have observed the children's sports culture a bit, and it makes my stomach churn.
One game this season, we had a serious soccer Dad on the other sideline, coaching his son the entire game. He wasn't the team coach, just his son's personal coach. He yelled instructions the whole game, strategies, gave one-on-one pep talks at every break, and despite the fact that this kid scored about 16 goals on our little group of soccer misfits, he had to run plays with him on the field afterwards to correct his mistakes.
I'm not kidding.
This is the league for five-year-olds.
I don't think I was hiding my disghust very well. I felt sorry for this kid beyond words. I think we hugged Jax all the way to the car and told him how proud we were of him for having fun out there, and being a good sport.
I watched the poor boy look to his father's face when he did something good for the nod of approval, and did not get it.
I wanted to cry! And then chew this guy out! And then disband the soccer league until further notice!
I know this guy surely loves his son, but this was the worst possible way to show it.
It got my brain going fast. It's not something I haven't thought about before, but want to discuss further with other parents.
As Christians, what do we want for our kids?
Truly, what do we want?
There are some Sunday School answers here. But I think as God has grown me over years past, my answer has definitely changed.
If we could choose professional athlete, which seems to be the driving force behind so many American families, or missionary to the nations, which would we choose?
If we would say missionary, making his whole life about sharing the gospel, how are we expressing that goal into the translation of our time spent, words said, the "I'm so proud of you's", the activities we commit to, etc.?
I think looking at what I know about professional athletes, I'd rather them be anything else in the whole freaking world. It's scary. I think maybe we ought to ban sports in our home on the off-chance that they COULD become too good at them, and end up running dog fights and have many STD's.
(Obviously, those are two polar opposite choices. Our kids could be a million things in between that honor God and fulfill His purpose for their lives.)
I know I haven't finished thinking about this.
I don't think extra-curricular activities outside of the church are wrong! Of course! I don't think our kids enjoying activities they are passionate about is unspiritual!!! Quite the contrary!
Like Emma is in love with horses. She was born in love with horses. We let her start riding, granting her the joy of her heart, a little more than two years ago. It's been so perfect for her! The whole family goes together on Wed. afternoon and enjoys watching her. She's getting so good, and it's amazing to watch her skills progress.
When does it cross the line from that to crazy soccer Dad?
When do we parents lose control and perspective?
How much time is too much, especially when it gets to older kids, tournaments, weekend trips, etc?
When we choose sports over church on any given Sunday or weekend, what are we saying?
What do you guys think?
Parents and former children alike, what are your thoughts?