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, September 30, 2018

What We Get

I recognized the jacket immediately. We walked onto the lower field at school for our Saturday soccer scrimmage, and there it was, right next to another sweatshirt I didn't recognize.

"Bryce," I said. "Is that your pink jacket?"

Bryce stopped and bent down. "Yes, it's mine."

"And who's sweatshirt is that?"

"My friend's."

"Why is your jacket here on the field?"

"Because she forgot it, Dad. Why do you think?" said Beatrice.

Good answer smarty pants, I thought.

"Yes, sorry. It was an accident; I forgot it," Bryce said.

I picked up her pink jacket. It was soaking wet from being outside all night on the grass. I carried it over to where we dumped our equipment to start our soccer scrimmage between Bryce's team and Beatrice's team.

"Mommy's not going to be happy about this," I said.

"She said it was an accident, Dad. She's just a kid, you know," said Beatrice.

"Yes, I know," I said. "Thank you, Beatrice."

Beatrice has certainly found her voice at 10 years old. Although, so has Bryce at eight. And actually, they had already found their voices at a much earlier age than this. Which is great, because we want them to be confident, to set their boundaries and to be clear about how they feel. Now that Beatrice is in the pre-tween shadows, that can get a little too sarcastic at times, and we have to curb that with her, but overall they're both forthright and self-assured. And we encourage that.

During the scrimmage, Bryce fought playing and complained that she was hot and tired. I did what I do with any of our players who act like they don't want to play -- I said simply, if you don't want to play, please go sit on the sidelines and take a break.

If they don't really want to play in that moment, that's what I have them do; one of our other team members did that towards the end of our scrimmage. But Bryce did want to play, and kept on fighting with herself about it, and me, and in the end stayed in the scrimmage game, still complaining the whole time.

On the way home from the scrimmage, I pointed this out to Bryce, about being a team player and how attitude is a big part of playing any sport -- and I also reminded her about not leaving her things on the grass at school.

"That's what you get for having an eight-year-old," Bryce said, laughing.

"Yeah, Dad. That's what you get for having kids," said Beatrice, laughing.

"I know, I know girls," I said, laughing.

And yet, what we get is so much more than that; we get the future. They are our future leaders and captains of industry and sports figures, the future of our communities near and far, whatever they do and wherever they end up. And while some will struggle along their paths, we can only hope for the best as they grow older, guiding them as best we can as they do. I thought about all this when we had with some of our friends and their kids over for a little get together recently. I thought about this during our annual back-to-school barbecue, where I got to help out and play emcee, where hundreds of kids and their parents interacting positively with each other and having fun. Each of our lives so different than the other, no matter the shared values, and yet, the very nature of our shared values, our children, are ultimately all that matters the most in our collective worlds.

What we get is so much more, and in a world so divided today, and seemingly getting more so every day, it's up to us invest wisely.

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