Letting My Kids Make Their Own Mistakes
The sun is relentless. I can feel my lips getting burnt and sweat creeping down my spine. I'm trying to rein in my frustration because I know the heat is a huge factor in his behavior. The ball gets hit, then thrown to first base. And he just stands there and watches it fall to the ground and roll away toward the fence. Then he slowly walks over, picks it up, and gives a half-hearted throw back to home plate. Another batter is up, and the same thing happens, only this time, he kicks the ball back to home plate. Sigh.
We were at Will's t-ball game earlier this week and it was an exercise in patience for all of us, I think. His face is red, he's in tears, and he wails, "I just want to go home!" Me, too, buddy. Me, too.
My hubs is out on the field with the other dads, being encouraging and tell him the game is almost over, and he can't quit and ditch his team. The tantrum continues, though. I'm in the bleachers with Dom, at war with myself internally. On one hand, I want to scoop him up, say, "Screw it, let's go home and never come back!" and get him a Slurpee to cool off. And on the other hand, I think, "Just suck it up, kid. You're part of a team. Everyone else is tired, and hot, and cranky, but they're not giving up. Hang in there. Life's tough - this is barely scraping the surface of all the difficult things you'll face in life."
The head coach is very patient, as you'd expect from a coach of a co-ed t-ball team for 6-year-olds. But even he has to shake his head when Will yells, "I don't care! I never want to play t-ball ever again!"
It's hard for me to just let go, and let him deal with this. But I know I need to. He has to learn what it means to be part of a team. To honor your commitments. To never quit. To treat others with kindness and respect. To learn that actions have consequences and mistakes are lessons to be learned from.
I can't open up his brain and pour in everything he needs to know. I can teach and remind and re-enforce. But until that switch clicks and the light bulb goes on for him, it won't matter.
Parenting is hard, man. The hardest thing for me is the lack of control. It's like watching someone else chisel away at a block of marble. You can't "see" it yet, and you don't know how it's going to turn out, but you know they have a unique vision and it will all come together eventually. Even if it's not in the way you want or expect.
I love my kids more than anything on this planet. I don't want them to suffer and struggle, but sometimes that's life. And I can't tell them how and who to be. I have to remember that I'm there to give them the tools to be their own people. I can help and guide and hand them the chisel. But it's up to them to create their own masterpieces. But that mama bear struggle is hard.
There are 3 more games left in the season. Wish us luck.