I sometimes feel like I am in a war zone most often at home. The constant battle to not let society's addictions takeover a wildly funny and talented kid's life. It goes something like this: Seth says to me...it isn't wrong to want to spend my time playing X-Box, it doesn't matter that I want to spend all afternoon and evening glued to the TV. Why should I have to get a long with others? I am my own island and it is okay for everyone to leave me alone. I don't have to do anything that I don't want to do. It is okay to call you stupid if you are bugging me so just let leave me alone.
I weep. I worry. I wonder. Are all kids like this nowadays? It is as if society has an unspoken message...let them do what they want. Don't rock the boat. It is a phase; they will grow out of it. Should I wait? What type of habits will develop during this "phase" in life? Well, I am not the type that will wait to find out. I think it won't be good. I think there will be a lot worse than better going on. Some would say, you fixate too much on your children, let them raise themselves. They will figure it out. I say, at what cost? Do I dare to be patient? Maybe or maybe not. I haven't figured it all out yet. But, I decided to try to give Seth some choices and see what happened when he made the final decision. So here's that story.
It is soccer try-out season here in the West. All the clubs are having try-outs for next fall's season. Everyone is looking for talented players to fill in holes where kids have left or build a stronger team. Seth tried out for the Team he is already on. His only comment was: I think I probably made it. But what if he didn't? (Which was NOT likely but it was on his mind). So, I told him that he should try out for some other Teams...just to see what other clubs were doing, see how he compared to other kids in the valley and strengthen his skills. What could it hurt? If he made different teams then he could choose which one he wanted to play on. Well, he didn't want to have anything to do with it but I finally convinced him to try. I made it easy for him not to worry he would run into other players he knew, made sure it was in a different division, so he wouldn't run into other Team's he had played. But, I still sensed deep down that Seth still wasn't going for it. His insecurities kicked in…The day he was suppose to start trying out. He didn't not want to go...I was practically begging him to get in the car...he finally relented. We get to the tryouts and he works hard but afterwards, he said he wasn't going back. He didn't like the kids; he didn't want to be a part of either club. I told Seth that we aren't quitters and he was going to finish what he started. I knew that it was the fear of failing that had him running scared. So, after a long calm talk with him that evening and a good night's rest I asked him, are you going to try-outs today? Seth said probably. So, he went and he got 2 offers from other Teams to play with their clubs. The biggest problem was these Teams wanted a commitment from Seth to play and they didn't want to wait because while he was their first choice...they wanted to put their teams together. I didn't blame them but Seth's original team hadn't made their decision yet. (Which is a whole different story, which is a joke) So, we called the Coach and said we need to know what is going on. Does Seth have a place on your Team? The Coach finally said yes...So, then it was up to Seth. Here are your choices. You have three teams that want you. Which one do you want to play on? His decision was to play with his original Team.
Here are the amazing things that came out of this.
He made his own decision.
He didn't quit.
He found out that he is an awesome player.
He realized he had more than one choice.
I think he is happier for this experience. This morning when he woke up to get ready for school he was happy and confident. I grinned.
I am proud of Seth. He did all the work. He dug down deep and found the courage to face his fear of failure, keep his commitment to finish and make his own choice. I know he will be out practicing, going to games and working in a team environment instead of sitting in front of a screen by himself. He learned that trying to force him doesn't work but by maintaining the standards that are expected of him, he can step up and feel good in the end.
I still think that Society is trying to take away my right to raise my children. Slowly and subtly they want the control. I am not giving up on that battle. I want to be my son’s guide through life. I want him to come to his parents for guidance rather than Google it on the web. The battle is on…