Monday, November 14, 2011

PostHeaderIcon Cara:It takes a Village...

You know that saying... "It takes a Village to raise a child"? I was not always fond of that saying because to me, it implied laziness on the part of the parent. Sometimes parents, expect the school to be the one that disciplines their kid. Or the babysitter to be the one that does all their homework and school projects with them. Or other people should drive their kid everywhere because they just can't seem to fit it in to their busy schedule. Never mind the Village, that always just seemed like slacking to me.

But now that saying has a different meaning to me. First because there are times when you need your "Village People" to help you out. You are sick and could really use that friend to take your kid after school, let him do his homework at their house. Or you can't be __________(fill in the blank) but your friend can and they will watch out for your kid or not let them get away with nonsense just as if you were there yourself.

Second, because as parents I think we all try our hardest to build up our kids' self esteem. We teach them, praise them, reward them for good behavior etc. But I have learned over the 18+ years of parenting that it's one thing to have your Mommy say "you're a good boy" or "great job", but it's quite another when another adult you respect tells you that.

At the ripe old age of nine, my boy has had one of the best experiences of his life. He played youth football for the first time. And if your Mayberry is anything like mine, if you wait too long (long being 4th grade) to join a sport, there's a good chance you could be washed up at 9 (you really need to start at birth it seems). But he waited to join until HE was ready. I had asked if he wanted to play since Kindergarten. He wasn't ready until 4th grade. (another lesson learned).

Yes, his team was 10 and 1. And yes they won the division championship and are going to get cool jackets. (believe you me there was jumping up and down, crying and cheering going on that day) But truthfully all that is icing on the cake. The really great thing is the boy that started football in August without a clue, in November is the boy that thinks he is an important part of the team. He is the boy that if he gets hurt during a play and needs to come out and take a breather for a minute is not made to feel like he is a wimp for coming out. His "injury" is acknowledged and then he is urged to "get back in there" because they need him out there. He is important. His dedication to the team, not missing a practice, continued improvement every week was acknowledged. He was taught teamwork. That it's not only the guy that ran the touchdown that is the "rock star", but he and his team mates as well because they were the reason that guy was able to run it.

He was taught that yes, skill, practice and listening to the coach is important. But he learned how to have heart. He learned how to pump up his team mates. He learned it's great to have everyone high five you when you do something awesome, but it's important to make sure you do the same when your buddy does too. Even if you have to wait until you are walking back to the car after the game and your buddy is all the way on the other side of the parking lot. He has learned mutual respect with another adult. He knows now as he always has that he needs to respect the adult in charge, be it coach, teacher or friend's parent. But he also knows it's not wrong to expect to be treated with respect right back.

Yes, I am a proud Mama when my "rookie" runs his "hike to Mike" play and scores the extra point. I'd be lying if I said it didn't matter to me. But I am equally if not more proud when I see him chest bumping his buddy when the buddy did something great. Or telling him it's OK if he made a mistake. Or focusing, making solid eye contact with his coach, and really listening to what he wants him to do and going out there and doing it. When he comes back in it's not me he looks to for a "good job" but his coaches.

So today I am grateful for my Village. It has given me renewed faith in the fact that it's not filled with Village Idiots. What my village can teach my child, can be something I may not be able to do myself. And for that I am more grateful than I could ever say.

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