Who’s Teaching Who Here?
I’m the parent.
I’m the one who’s supposed to teach.
However, I think that my most pivotal parenting moments are actually provided by my kids.
I’m a parent, a coach, a PTA mom, a room mom, a mom; one thing I’m not, is a helicopter parent. I am always in my child’s life but I am not controlling their life. I try to nudge and guide and lead, without directing it.
My kindergartner plays on a team that I co-coach, it’s a team of Kinder, 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders. This might be the most competitive sport/league that I’ve ever experienced. I have heard parents and coaches say to other players: “What is wrong with you?!” “If you don’t run now, I’ll make you run later” “I’m writing this down. Everyone will remember how you dropped that ball tonight”
My skin has crawled and I’ve VERY loudly and vocally praised my kids/team. I praise them for their attitudes, for what they do right, for how hard they try, pay attention, listen, smile, laugh, cheer.. whatever it may be. They are there. The show up, they try.
This past Monday we had a game. We played THE number one team in the league. My daughter was HAULING it from 1st to 2nd and then rounding the bases to 3rd; I’m still not clear on what happened, it was a blur, a flash of dust and bodies and tears. All I remember is yelling for her to run and then seeing her body bounce against the dirt, her knees scraping the ground and her body bouncing as it slammed into the dirt.
There was no thought, only my running across the field, I felt the other adults moving with me, running towards her, I heard the exclamations of the girls and the inhalations as all the parents there simultaneously sucked in their breath, grateful it wasn’t their child on the ground.
We gathered her into our arms and she sobbed, she acknowledged that it was her knee. She was in pain, she was red, short of breath, hitching and crying and yet.. when the umpire told her she was safe. That she could KEEP second base, she limped over to it and stood tall, all the while tears rolling down her face, her body standing tall against the pain.
And then, as I walked back across the field I saw my daughter limp across the field towards the pitcher’s mound. I saw her gather the taller-than-she-girl, the girl who had accidentally caused my daughter’s fall, the girl who was two grades older than she into her arms and hug her. I saw my kindergartner take an older girl in her arms and hug her, console her, tell her it was okay.
More than I saw, that night I felt my daughter teach the world a lesson of compassion and maturity.
That night, I learned a priceless lesson from my daughter and I realized that while I am her mother, I am not always the teacher.