While we try to teach our children all about life,
Our children teach us what life is all about.
Today, Big Guy's school held a Cross Country run for all 4-6th grade students. And this coming Saturday, there will be a similar event for all students in the entire school district. Improbably, BG is totally stoked for both. Now, if you've read this blog previously, you know that my dear, sweet boy is not exactly the most athletic child...lovable? Of course. Hilarious? Absolutely. Sweet, fun, and genuinely kind-hearted? Without a doubt. But, athletic? Notsomuch. But, today, my not-so-athletic kid taught me a little something about sportsmanship, and character.
During the race, as expected, the boys who are footballers, baseball players, basketball players, etc. pulled out in front. As BG fell further behind, my heart sank. Like any mother, I would walk over hot coals if it meant protecting my son from embarrassment or sadness. As my friends' sons crossed the finish line (one even placing first!), I cast an anxious eye towards BG, bracing myself for his disappointment as he ran far behind. But, to my amazement and fierce pride, my boy wasn't running with a discouraged slump in his shoulders - his head was up, and he was going HARD!
My baby knew he was at the back of the pack, but he was running like he was in first place. He was working so unbelievably hard; but still occasionally slowing to keep an encouraging eye out for his friend who was even further behind. He was determined, persistent and absolutely AWESOME. Even though running has never been his thing, giving up has never been, either.
I worry constantly about my boy. I want to protect him from every single thing that could possibly hurt him. But, there comes a time when he has to try things outside the comfort zone I have created for him. And even when it's hard, maybe disappointing and super scary (for both of us!) -- it seems we have raised the kind of little boy who is determined to try. The fear of failing is nothing in the face of fierce determination.
And that is what my 9 year-old keeps teaching me every single day.
My son didn't win the race, but he finished and he never quit. My husband and I were so proud of him that 'proud' isn't even a strong enough word. And most important of all, he was proud of himself. He wasn't tentative or timid. He was brave and glorious -- and I want to be just like him.