Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Whys of Football (and other *currently* less important sports)

As you can imagine with four boys - one in college, two in high school, and Little Man (who is blessedly in the 2nd grade) - and a football coaching husband, I'm asked a LOT about why our boys play football.

With all of the articles and news reports lately about the danger of the sport, I feel inclined to go back and think through it, once again.

As I have many many times, particularly when our guys have experienced severe injuries.  Son (#1) was injured more than not during his four years of Varsity football.

I remind myself that we haven't let them play before Jr. High (recent studies have shown that there is much greater long term risk if head injuries occur before the age of 12), how we've purchased concussion preventing helmets, helmet liners, have coaches that watch our boys carefully for injury and take every precaution to keep them safe, coaches who also teach them to hit safely and build strength during off season to hopefully prevent injury.

But when I boil it all down, I'm left with this:

Football is great tool for teaching about the adversity of LIFE.

I want my kids to face defeat, injury (when it happens), loss, cranky teammates, hateful opponents, coaches they may not agree with, hard HARD work, and even physical pain WHILE they are young and can learn how to respond properly - and the Coach and I are around to help them navigate it.

Life is full of these same obstacles.  Who hasn't failed?  Who hasn't faced an injury of some sort?  An authority figure they don't agree with or want to obey?  Who hasn't had to get up early even when exhausted?  Go to work when it's not fun?  Be responsible and show up when we'd rather not?

Football gives my boys an advantage when they become adults.  It teaches them (if they are lead by the right Godly men and their parents) so many life skills.  So many life lessons.  Perseverance.  Discipline.  Doing what's right even when it's hard.

21 years ago when I first started watching my Coach on the sidelines (how has it BEEN 21 years??), I will admit I didn't get it.  I knew he loved it.  I didn't understand why.

But after watching 20 classes of senior football players leave our school and head out as adults, I'm more convinced than ever.  One of MY senior football players has now been gone for two years.  I've seen that he learned many important lessons that have guided him since those high school football days.

Last week, Son (#4) got hurt in the game.  I'll be honest, when I saw that it was his knee I almost threw up.  We've been through ACL surgery with Son (#3).  I would never wish that on anyone and I certainly don't want to go through it, again.  But you know what?  I immediately thought ABOUT Son (#3).  That was a two-surgery/miserable Freshman year.  I hated it for him and it was horrible.  But how could I look at him, his character, his kindness towards others, his toughness? And wish he hadn't been through those trials?

Trials are where we learn the most.  To depend on the Lord, to persevere, to trust in a Sovereign Lord, even when things are difficult.  And to keep going, even when the losses pile up.

So this Friday, I'll be cheering on our boys - and one of them will be on the sidelines with his bum knee. Asking the Lord to continue to teach ME, as well.  To not protect my kids from the very things that grow them into independent (from us) dependent (on the Lord) adults who will glorify the Lord in their lives and lead others to seek Him (to quote my wise mother-in-law!).

And just because our lives at the troops revolve around football, doesn't mean there aren't countless other ways for our kids to learn these same lessons.  Just make sure you aren't so concerned with protecting them that you fail to allow them to do anything hard.  I want my boys to grow into strong (and I don't mean physically) men who will work hard, take care of others, and face hardship with patience.  It won't happen without some intentionality.

(I just love them so much.)

Happy Wednesday!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Practicing Thankfulness

It's been a week.  And you know what?  We've almost made it.

I felt extremely grouchy and irritable after the third day of COMPLETE CHAOS.  Which I know I joke about, but honestly, the chaos is somewhat rare these days.  But between uniforms and lunches and snacks and games and games and games...

The huge to-go cup of coffee that got spilled all over the counter Wednesday morning about sent me over the edge.

I'm not proud of this.

And the floor is STILL sticky.  Ugh.

But it started me thinking. . .

That spilled cup of coffee (OK.  It was about 1/2 creamer.  Not mine.) at 6:30 in the morning?  Meant I had four teens headed to See You at the Pole.

Just like the uniforms and khakis that need to washed mean that I have a houseful of healthy kids who play sports and go to school.  And do well in school, I should remind myself.

The seven lunches that need to be made every morning?  All represent those same kids (and their dad).  That I love.

The homework?  The kids that I love are smart, too.

And the games?  OH the games.  Loads and loads of them?

So much fun.

I wouldn't trade it for anything.

The girls have won volleyball and won more volleyball.  The boys have gotten pounded on the football field and been TOUGH men.  Little Man got his braces off.  I had coffee with friends and lunch with my parents. We got to see our world traveling cousin.  I folded mounds of mounds of laundry and cooked all but *one* night this week (thank you, Little Caesars).  We've had 80's hair and dress up days and school pictures.  The kids worked for our school in the community, painting, raking, cleaning up a park.  We got to hold a new baby cousin. We even celebrated my dad's retirement after 44 years.

See what I mean?  SO.  MUCH.  To be grateful for.

I'm exhausted and my house is a wreck (although I managed to wash mattress pads this week, so SCORE!) and I love it.

These are beautiful days.  And Fall is a beautiful season.  And tonight is homecoming!  I'd better get to it or the littles who bring their friends home before the game won't have any cookies!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Less Full Nest Syndrome

*I wrote this two weeks ago, meaning to add photos before I finished it.  Two.  Weeks.  Ago.  Oh well.  As the coach would say, It IS what it IS.

I've finally had a chance to catch my breath this week.  In fact... can I confess something?  I went back to bed when the kids left for school yesterday.

I know.  Lame.

We've moved Daughter (#2) into her Freshman dorm at one school.  Moved Son (#1) into another dorm at another school.  Started two in high school football and two in Jr. High volleyball.  And now have almost two weeks (or four) of school for six in the books.  Not to mention the Coach is back in the classroom and on the football field, as well.

This year?  We have two in college.
Two in high school.  (Both boys.  Both football players.)
Two in Jr. High.  (Both girls.  Both volleyball players.)
Two in Elementary.

No seniors.
No sixth graders.
No high school girls.
No Jr. High boys.

This is a year OFF, my friends.  And I plan to enjoy it.

Less laundry.  Less food.  Fewer activities.  Fewer games.  Fewer kids...

A lot less money...Ha!

I have no idea why I'm so tired.  Already.

I am so grateful for these kids.  These days.  This season.  It's a truly wonderful season.

I am so thankful that my big kids are doing well in college (I sure miss them.).  And that my troops at home are tackling the new year and all it's chaos with such determination.

Now if the Coach and I can just keep up!

Happy Thursday!