It’s Bigger Than Basketball

Air Ryan

 

My son just completed a summer basketball league through our local Parks and Recreation. 

Though Ryan is eleven years old, and now a middle schooler (gasp!), up until his request to play basketball this summer, he had never wanted to enroll in any sort of  enrichment class or activity (either after-school or on weekends).

And that was always fine with me.   

You can click here to be redirected to RoleReboot to read my personal essay, “Why My Son Doesn’t Need ‘Enrichment’ Classes,” that was published back in 2018 to find out more.

But that was then.

Ryan decided he wanted to play basketball, and play he did with one hundred percent heart and soul – at every practice and every game. 

About half-way into the summer session, there was a major scheduling snafu.  Only ten children showed up at game time.  The other team Ryan and his teammates were scheduled to play, kids from a neighboring park, didn’t show.  And the coaches didn’t show.

But we had 10 kids who came to play.  2 referees ready to work.  And 1 park employee prepared to keep track of points, fouls, and timeouts. 

The 10 kids were split into 2 groups of 5, and my husband and another parent were asked to serve as coaches.

My husband coached the way we parent.  Not stressing the outcome, but praising the effort.  Paul walked over to “his team,” introduced himself, asked each kid his name and gave each one a fist-bump.  (And yes, Ryan was on his Daddy’s team.)

At each timeout, Paul shared fist-bumps and high-fives with his group of kids.  He clapped while they played, encouraged them to pass the ball and communicate with one another.  And for most of the game, he let these boys just run the court and play.

When the game was over, (Ryan and his teammates won), my husband had them all line up to shake hands with their competition.  And while the other coach had begun to walk away from the court, my husband walked over to him, shook his hand, and congratulated him on a good game.

That’s a big part of the lesson I wanted Ryan to take away from this basketball experience.  

Yes, it’s been great to see his layups improve.  

Yes, I’m impressed with his defensive playing. 

Yes, his long-range shots are dramatically better than they were when he started.  (And he made a big shot in the last game of the season!)

But ultimately, I’m proud of his good sportsmanship and his wholehearted effort.

And the biggest takeaway is one Ryan provided himself.  The ability to know yourself, to trust yourself.  

It was Ryan’s choice to play basketball.  On his own time-table.  When he was ready.

 

Mommy a.k.a. Short-Order Cook

What does family dinner look like in your home?

Do you sit at a table or in front of the television?  Do you all eat the same meal?

My idea of a successful family dinner has changed since becoming a parent.  And it’s my son who has taught me that what is on each of our plates isn’t nearly as important as what is happening at the table during our family dinner time.

Click here to be re-directed to parents.com to read my personal essay, “Choosing Peace over Peas.”  My essay was written in response to a Parents-sponsored essay contest, with a 300-word limit on the theme, “”The Parent I Thought I’d Be.”  I was a finalist and won a $100 gift card!

 

My Confession About Being a Stay-at-Home Mom

In my 4th grade classroom, preparing for Back-to-School Night. 2006

I have a confession to make.  I never planned on being a stay-at-home mom.  I was a teacher before my son was born, and I planned on being a teacher after my son was born.

At least, that was my plan.

But for those of you who read my blog and know me, plans started to change in 2010 when I became ill.  They really changed in 2013 when I retired from my twelve-year teaching career. 

There is a lot to read about the difficult decision to become a stay-at-home mom or the equally-difficult decision to return to the workplace.  But I didn’t find a lot to read about moms who become stay-at-home moms when it wasn’t their choice.  And as much as I love my son, as much as I feel lucky to take him to school each day and pick him up each afternoon, being a stay-at-home mom wasn’t my choice.

You can click here to be re-directed to mother.ly and read my recently published essay, “I Never Planned To Be a SAHM – To Be Honest, I’m Still Adjusting.”

 

Proudly Under-Scheduled

Time for the important things — a game of basketball between father and son

When you Google “Overscheduled children,” more than 200,000 results show up.  If you’re not familiar with the term, it applies to children who are spending most of their waking hours in school and involved in organized activities (such as enrichment classes, sports teams, and lessons). 

I’m proud to say that my son is not an “overscheduled” child.  He’s a ten-year-old fifth-grader who goes to school until 2:30 pm (1:30 pm on Tuesdays), and then spends the rest of the afternoon at home doing homework, playing, and relaxing (except on Tuesdays when we pay a visit to the public library). 

You can learn about our family’s decision not to have Ryan become an “overscheduled child” by clicking here and reading my recently published essay, “Why My Son Doesn’t Need ‘Enrichment’ Classes” at RoleReboot.

 

 

A Reminder to Practice Kindness

horoscope (photo by Wendy Kennar)

As I was reading the Sunday Los Angeles Times, I came across my horoscope.  I’ve found that sometimes my horoscope is rather general and could be applied to just about anyone.  Other times, I find my horoscope to be completely irrelevant to my life.  This week, I’d have to say my horoscope was spot on.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20):  Of course you deserve

your own kindness.  If you’re still struggling with that

it’s a good day to simply drop the fight.  Assume that

one of the main things you need right now is

more compassion and then give it to yourself.

Along those lines, I’d also like to share a post I wrote that MomsLA.com published last week.  Here’s the link to “Why I Don’t Volunteer to Chaperone My Son’s Field Trips”:

http://momsla.com/dont-volunteer-chaperone-sons-field-trips/