Us: Extra Curricular

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Observing my grown children now at 21, 24 and 26 years old, it would be easy to guess their interests growing up. In simple terms, the boy's are musicians and Laura is a writer so they must have shown those interests early. If that were your guess, you would be wrong. I compare it to driving on a mountain road with a lot of winding, 180 degree cutbacks. A child will show and interest in something so, wanting to show support, we jump in and encourage them to pursue it by buying the equipment and the lessons. There is interest for a while and then, “Look! A pony!” Just like that we are on to something else. I am sure that a parent was the one motivated to start used sports equipment stores and the idea of band equipment rental.

William played one year of baseball, several years of soccer and flag football and a year of high school football. He also had drum lessons, played the tuba in middle school as well as bass guitar before taking his first guitar lesson in high school. Laura played a year of t-ball, a year of soccer, had ballet lessons and was a member of middle school and high school choir as well as involved in high school musicals. Jordan played several years of flag football and soccer and then, at 10, decided to give baseball a try and played that until his sophomore year of high school. He also took batting and pitching lessons, attended strength and conditioning training three times per week and had a couple of drum lessons when he was 12. As every parent knows, all of this represents money and, more importantly, time. Lots of time. It required many hours sitting in parking lots during lessons, standing on the sidelines through oppressive heat and freezing winds as well as the recitals, performances and tournaments. It is a big commitment and it will wear you out.

One Saturday morning I had to get Jordan to high school freshman baseball practice at eight. My parents were visiting and my dad accompanied me, wanting to see his grandson play some baseball. As we watched the team go through their drills, I made a comment in the form of a rhetorical question, not expecting an answer. “Why do we do this? We burn so much time chasing our tail, running to practice and lessons... for what? This is exhausting and Jordan probably won't play baseball past high school.” My dad said, “No regrets. We do it because we don't want to look back and say 'if only...' Your kids will find where they fit eventually but this is their way to discover. And there are a lot of life lessons along the way they can use the rest of their lives. Plus, this is your chance to build them up, support them, try to give them some confidence. Trust me, the world will eventually take care of beating them up and tearing them down. Enjoy it. They'll be on their own soon enough.”

And that is it. The drum lessons led to the tuba led to the bass that led to the guitar that led to a desire to lead his youth group that led William to decide to attend a college that taught him both music and Biblical principles that he will use forever. The ballet led to the choir that led to the stage that was always wrapped in relationships that Laura cherishes more than performance and that drives her writing and her recent forays into speaking and recording spoken word monologues. For Jordan, the sports led to the lessons and the training that led to discipline and focus that led to the desire to excel that led to a decision to pursue music after baseball was taken away that led to a desire to lead and attend a school that would shape him and bring all of the disparate threads together. All three journeys were different but, in a way, very similar. We, the parents, might have driven the van but God was working the GPS.

1 comment:

Paige said...

Love this! And thanks, we start gymnastics this year and I was wondering what happens when they want to switch...do we pick one activity and just continue on or let them switch. This helps! :)