Sunday, June 03, 2007
For the Love of it
My son loves basketball. He spends hours outside the school shooting baskets with friends, watches every game he can on television and is in constant motion as he jumps for invisible balls and backboards. He loves basketball. But it isn't his passion.
His dad also loved the game, playing in high school, college and beyond. It was always a big part of who he was, and it was something that drove him in everyday life. This weekend he came down to help coach our son's team as they played in a large tournament on the WSU campus. He watched, somewhat frustrated as our younger child held back, choosing caution over assertiveness. He could have jumped higher, shot more often, fought for it harder. We cheered from the sidelines, supporting our young man who loves the game, but doesn't want it to be his life. And that is all right.
When we have children, we set certain expectations of what they will be like. But we can't set their dreams. I see attributes in both of our kids that I can claim or that I recognize from their father. But when push comes to shove, they are who they are. Sometimes they don't live the life that we had envisioned for them. Often they surpass it.
Part of being a parent - a large part of being a parent - is unconditional love. You support your child, you encourage his dreams, whether they match yours for him or not. You see his potential for the direction of his choosing and acknowledge the fact that he is a separate and special individual.
So my dear son, play the sport with what you have. Keep that perpetual smile and kindness. You may not be the best, the fastest, the strongest, but in my book you are MVP no matter where you are. And in the game of life, that's what really counts.