If you follow me on Instagram, you may already know...I'm a proud, maybe over the top, but definitely loving Soccer Stepmom. I grew up playing Soccer from the time I could run at age 3 I was doing it on a field. I didn't do it well to start. Kids all gather together and chase the ball and are just running and kicking...I was one of them. I don't remember much of my early years playing the sport, but I must have loved it because I continued to do it season after season.
To say that I love watching my Stepson play soccer is a very drastic understatement. Watching him play the sport that I grew up loving and learning so much from is complete joy for me. I so badly wanted him to try out for the school team this past year since it was his first year in middle school. That was the plan once we found out they had a team. To my disappointment, he ended up not doing it. He was afraid he wouldn't make the team and was kind of nervous to play. It made me so sad because he's good...actually, he's really good. For never playing on a team largely devoted to instruction and in depth parts of the sport, he does so well. He is left footed which is rare and has one hell of a heart and always shows up with team spirit.
To hear him talk about himself like that is what hurt me more. As parents, we tell Ethan we love him approximately 76 times a day, but maybe we need to be doing something else. We tell him how proud of him we are, how great he's doing in school even when he brings home a C+...because if he's trying his hardest and doing all he can, that is his best....but should we be doing more?
Thursday was an exciting night. He played at my Alma Mater on a college sized field at Penn State Behrend for the first time. Chuck and I sat in the bleachers and cheered him on like we typically do 2-3 times a week throughout the Summer. I had the pleasure of sitting next to a parent from the other team which is usually a joy. ;)
The things that came out of this parent's mouth were not like the usual things I heard on the sidelines. I was appalled as this man went on and on about how awful his son was at Soccer. He went as far as to take pictures of what his son was doing wrong (mind you, the child was playing his position correctly) so that he could show him after the game before he made him run sprints in the driveway.
I get it...you want your child to do good. You want to see your child giving it their all and playing to win. I've coached Soccer, I've refereed soccer, and now I'm a parent of a player...this man's son was doing all the right things, but it wasn't good enough for Dad. It then got to the point at the end of the game that he was calling his child names that I refuse to even type and display on the Internet. My heart broke for this child. The straw that broke my back was when this man's son scored a goal and he MISSED IT because he was sitting there turned to the person next to him explaining what his son was doing wrong.
Tell me...what good was this parent doing? He was SO outspoken, but only to harass his own child. I didn't hear him say one good thing the entire game. Why not use your voice to direct rather than humiliate? To suggest rather than tear down? To uplift rather than diminish?
As adults we have to be role models. Whether if it's for a child of your own, your niece or nephew, a little one you babysit, or a family friend...you need to use your voice wisely.
I'm far from perfect. I have the mouth of a sailor and usually on a round trip to the store express my road rage about once each way in forms no one should have to hear. But I will never be the adult who's tearing a child down. Children are the future of our world. We should be encouraging them to be amazing and showing them the way. My opinion (since we all have them) is that if you're going to be so outspoken, at least use your voice wisely. It's important that we do our job as adults and know when to speak our mind and when to speak from our hearts.
The next time you think about saying something out loud, please take a moment and question if you're using your voice wisely.