When my eldest son was around 2, I thought we were going to have to send him to military school. He certainly had his own opinions and was not afraid to express them. Listening was not a strong skill. Every outing was a battle of wills – he willed to move and do things that he wanted to do – not what the rest of us needed to do. At the time, I felt that he needed more discipline than we were giving him. Over the last 7 years, this boy has learned a lot and matured to some degree – though listening is still not one of his strongest skills.
As part of his maturing, he has developed a number of interests – including playing soccer. He loves soccer so much that he has successfully tried out for the community competitive soccer team this spring. Since making the team, his eyes have been opened to the discpline required to play at this level and be part of a team. His coaches had a uniform presentation event where each member of the team was presented their team number and their full kit. As part of this ceremony, the team members had to vow to treat their uniforms with respect. They must fold their outerwear and put it away in their backpacks when they take it off at any time – particularly on the side lines of the field. (Can pyjamas and dirty clothes command the same respect at home?) Players have to do their best to attend every practice and game otherwise they will let down their teammates. Another rule is listen to the coach and follow the drills. This one has to be the hardest for 9 year old boys! But they get the message as coach doesn’t call them by name when it is their turn to do the drill – they have to be ready, watching and listening – otherwise the wrath of coach is unleashed.
While I am not looking forward to travelling all over Southern Ontario this summer, or the possibility of watching the team lose most of their games as it is their first season playing together, I am hoping that the lessons from coach will sink through the 9 year old’s head and he will learn some life skills. Otherwise, I will have to start saving for military school again.