I wasn’t able to attend Mackenzie’s first soccer game of the season a few weeks ago, so I called her that evening to see how it went. When she came to the phone I asked, “How did your soccer games go today?” Without missing a beat she replied, “I made a new friend!” She then proceeded to tell me her new friend’s name and a few other pertinent details including that they were both born in the month of July.
I can’t even begin to tell you how proud I am of Mackenzie for her answer to my question because her answer revealed her true heart—a heart that is more concerned about friendship and the socialization aspects of being 8 and playing soccer than it is winning. To Mackenzie, being on a soccer team is about making friends AND learning to play with her peers instead always being the winner and of getting a head start on being in line for a college scholarship.
Parents, if reading this starts your head to nodding and has you saying things like “That’s the way it should be” or “Good job, Mackenzie”, keep up the great work!
If, on the other hand, reading this causes you to shake your head, cringe, and say things like, “If she’s not going to play to win, she shouldn’t even be playing”, or “I’m glad she’s not on my kid’s team”, then shame on you.
First of all, having great social skills and caring more about people than winning is something every parent should want for their kids. Secondly, eight year-old sports teams shouldn’t really be about anything but learning how to be a team-player and how to be a gracious winner and looser. And lastly, college should be the last thing on your mind regarding your eight year-old. Enjoy your kids for who they are now. Don’t miss their childhood by focusing on the future. Trust me when I say that the time passes way to fast without trying to rush it.
The bottom line here is this: Friends are way more important that winning a game of soccer…no matter how old you are. And as a parent, it’s your job to let your kids know it’s perfectly okay for them to feel this way. It’s also job for you to feel this way, too.
Momma DCopyright 2016 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission from the author.