Responsible parenting and leadership are a start. In between reaching for the sky (Toy Story rocks).

Screw the darkness. I prefer the lightness of Pop.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Why We Say Let's Let the Pearls Play

Her question caused me angst. Not a lot of it, because I already knew my answer three days before I told her. It was the same answer the Mama gave as well. But I still found myself a little torn as to how to respond.

The question was this: "Daddy, the birthday party I was invited to is the same time as our soccer game on Saturday. Can I go to the birthday party instead?"

The very first thing I thought was this: Well, no. You need to go to your soccer game.

I didn't say it, but I thought it. More than twice because of a wrinkle. I mean, my reactive response came from a place of instilling commitment and teamwork in Beatrice, of teaching her that she could be letting the team down by not showing up to play. A place that I was reminded of more than a few times in my own childhood.

I was older, in 4th grade, and was pushed by my crazy step-father to play basketball (not the man I ended up calling Pop), a sport that I wasn't very good at compared to baseball and football. In fact, I wasn't even very good at playing HORSE, the creative shooting challenge game played with a basketball for people who can, well, shoot baskets and actually make them.

However, he used to be good at playing basketball, and so I was pushed everyday after school to practice on the driveway basketball hoop -- free-throws, layups, hooks, jump shots -- you name it, I was pushed to practice it. It didn't really make me any better and I hated every minute of it (for more reasons than just the game itself).

My basketball swan song came at the end of the season when as a "not really a power" forward I scored five points -- two baskets, one of which was an alley-oop blindly from behind, and one free-throw. 

That was it. Baseball, football and even soccer in junior high ended up being so much more fulfilling.

Now, I/we didn't push Beatrice to play anything. We have always been about letting our girls decide if they want to trying something, and of course encouraging them to try things, and then if they want to keep doing any of those things, we'll be there for all of it (Bryce loves swimming and dancing).

Bea actually wanted to play soccer, with the boys at first, just like when she played T-ball, and then conceded to be on an all-girls team in U8 soccer. Beatrice is definitely better than me in soccer than I was in basketball and she really gives everything a go that she tries. Let's just say she's got a lot of heart, loves her teammates and friend, and loves playing hard and having fun. 

And then there's the part where I'm the team's coach. Yes, that part. That's the wrinkle. So when she asked to go to the birthday party instead of our soccer game, I was a little torn to say the least. But like I said, I already knew my answer, and when I talked with the Mama about it and our response was united: instilling commitment and teamwork in both Beatrice and Bryce has already started and will be years in the making, like the pearls all our children will hopefully become.

She may never want to play sports long-term; maybe she'll be an engineer; or maybe she'll do both. Who knows. Both girls'  lives will be difficult and competitive enough as it is as they get older -- especially being females. Plus, I'm dealing with an age group who loves to chase each other, do cart wheels on the field during games, pick clumps of grass and throw them at each other, and give each other hugs. So there's that.

Either way Bea's in first grade and only seven years old and has come a long way, baby. That's why we say let's let the pearls play.

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