Parenting is tough. Some parents are amazing. What follows is a story about one of those parents; it first ran on January 16, 2007.
We lost today. My middle school girls' basketball team is struggling. We have fourteen girls listed on our roster but only seven suited up for the contest this afternoon. Grades and illness have taken a toll on our record but we played really hard. When you lose three starters in junior high, the ability to score points is lost as well. We have another chance tomorrow and another game the day after that. These kids are as resilient as any bunch I've had. They celebrate little victories; Taraka shooting her first free throws of the year, Rachel snagging two rebounds in a quarter, etc. Winning is always more fun but competing when you are behind is a tremendous quality for any young athlete.
So much of what happens in coaching is out of the vision of the crowd or even the players. As my girls were filing out of the gym with their parents, I stayed behind and talked with the opposing coaches. They asked about some of our kids and I asked about their recent games. While we talked, I was watching something out of the corner of my eye. Melacyn is one of our gifted Biology teachers at Westbury Christian School and also my non-paid basketball scorebook keeper. During the game, her lovely daughter, Brooklynn, sat at the scorer's table with her mother and Linda, a math teacher who volunteers to keep the clock. Normally, we put out our very expensive scorer's table, complete with lights and rotating advertising. Since this was the only game in our gym today, we simply used a plastic table, the kind you eat lunch on at Sunday church dinners. Apparently, five year old Brooklynn mistook the white table for a sketch pad and either drew or wrote on the surface. When the final buzzer signaled the game's conclusion, Melacyn went to our cafeteria kitchen and brought back a bucket with water and some sort of cleansing agent. Under the very watchful eye of her mom, Brooklynn scrubbed the table. She wasn't happy about it but that was not the issue. Even though there was no damage to the table, Melacyn made sure that her daughter cleaned up her mess. And that's my lasting memory of the day. Melacyn could have simply told Brooklynn not to do it again but she reinforced the importance of correct behavior. If you were in Houston this afternoon, you also know that we are under a winter storm advisory and everyone was scurrying out to beat the freezing rain and sleet. Everyone, that is, except a mother and daughter. I appreciate that little piece of parenting that probably no one else witnessed. That is what my mom would have done. Children need to be corrected whether they appreciate it or not- and what five year old does? Consider the following child rearing tip from the book of Hebrews, chapter 12 and verse 11:
"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."
I guarantee you, Brooklynn thought washing that table was unpleasant but look what she is promised in the long run. I read several articles recently about a scandal in a Texas school involving the cheerleading squad. The district hired an investigator to look into the situation and one of his conclusions was that "adults have to be adults" when it comes to setting acceptable standards and the adults abdicated their responsibility. I know one adult who acted like an adult today. One day, her daughter will thank her.
Applicable quote of the day:
"Children are a great comfort in your old age- and they help you reach it faster, too."
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org