The daddies, who happen to be the coaches, have jumped and waved their arms to no avail because these seven year old boys, once they are on the court, all believe they are Kevin Durant.
Every last one of them.
So they play in their dream world, not listening for the instructions being shouted from the sidelines. They walk away frustrated because they don't know what they did wrong. They go into a new game intimidated because they are afraid they won't know what to do. Through tears he disclosed his fear and intimidation so
I sat my son down and we had a talk. I tried to explain to him WHY it is so important to listen on the court.
"Your coach's job is to tell you what to do. They know you don't know what to do, which is why they are there. You're not supposed to know everything. You can't see what they see, so they tell you where to go and who to look out for but you have to listen.
Did you know that Kevin Durant has to listen to his coach?" He looked at me with total shock, having obviously never entertained that idea!
"Yes, he has to listen just like you! In fact, if he didn't listen and just went out there and did whatever he wanted he would get fired."
I had his attention now. Those brown eyes were fixed on mine.
"Part of being a good basketball player is being a good listener. You have to choose to focus on the voices of your coaches (one of them who happens to be your daddy!) and do what they say. If you do, not only will you know what to do but y'all will win some games!"
A week came and went. We had a few more conversations about listening because, honestly, it is not just on the basketball court where he has trouble using the ears God gave him. Then today arrived. Game day.
He was dressed in his jersey before breakfast.
Shoot, he probably slept in it.
On the way to the game I reminded him to listen, and encouraged him in one other slightly important skill:
"You know when the other team has the ball? Who does that ball belong to?"
"Me, " he said with a grin.
"That's right. And it is ok to go after it. It is ok to take it away, alright?"
Oh my...I sound like one of those moms! But isn't it funny how we tell our kids to be nice and share all through childhood, but suddenly expect them to be ball-snatchers when they begin playing sports? But I digress.
Those boys played their best today. The 4th quarter ended in a tie and the mamas were happy, expecting that to be the end and aren't we just so thrilled that they TIED?
But oh, no, that was not the end! They got to play OVERTIME. Their faces lit up and they suddenly had energy and zest that I had never seen on the court. They wanted it and they wanted it BAD. Overtime ended and we were still tied, so they got 40 more second. With 7 seconds left my boy passed it to a teammate who has never scored a single basket for this team and he flung it at the hoop where it bounced, wobbled, and went in.
The mamas were screaming, the daddies were pumping fists, and the boys were leaping all over the court, high-fiving and hugging each other and it was just so good.
Victory is always sweeter after defeat.
So why am I telling you this story (besides the fact that our grandmas will love it)? Well, think for a second about the conversation I had with my son about listening. Do you see the parallels?
Some of us waited years to become moms. We prepared, prayed, and even made a game plan as to how we would raise our children. As our families have grown we have probably realized adjustments to the plan had to be made. But what happens when our plan just isn't working? What happens when we are floundering and "our team" is losing and we are frustrated and intimidated because so many voices are shouting at us, telling us what they think we should do?
What happens when we stop listening to the Coach?
Now God, He is so much more than a coach. He is our Creator, Redeemer, Father, and King. But so often I have plowed through life, through motherhood, and ignored His voice. So often I have thought I knew what I was doing only to lose my grip on the ball and fall flat on my face. If I am not choosing to listen to His voice letting Him show me the next step or even stop me in my tracks, I will fail.
I'll fail because I can only see what is right in front of my face, but He sees the whole picture. He sees the beginning and the end all at the same time. Wouldn't common sense tell me to ask the One with the best view to describe which way I should go? Of course it would.
I have to be teachable. I have to be humble and open to His directions, His plays, His game plan. I have to remember that my finite mind and limited view restrict me in ways that I cannot see right now. He sees the hearts of my children. He made their hearts. He alone knows exactly what they need from me at any given moment and I must stop and listen for His voice before plowing ahead with my own plan.
And isn't it wonderful how He turns the lectures we give our kids right back on us?
Motherhood is nothing if not humbling. :)