Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Too Intense for Me

Perhaps these people need to get more intense about their spelling skills.
I've discovered something about myself the past few weeks. I know that this is going to be shocking to some of you, but I'm not intense enough as a human being. I know, I know, there are people falling out of their computer chairs all over the state, but it's true. I'm not intense enough.

I went to that pageant last weekend, where I assure you, everyone was more intense than I was. Then, last night, I took the Bonus Child to her cheer competition center for practice, and again, EVERYONE was more intense than I was. There were people in the room--more than one family--who drove two hours one way for their child to train with So-n-So, the Yoda Jedi Master of All Things Cheer.  Two hours in the car ONE WAY for CHEER practice. THREE TO FOUR TIMES A WEEK. That kind of intense.

(I'm thinking to myself, who are these people, and how can I learn to identify them from a distance so that I don't accidentally sit by them anymore?)

Everyone who knows me for more than five seconds knows that I adore my children. I'm on the outskirts flirting with worshiping them, but I'm also a complete realist about my babies. They are talented. Smart. Funny. Precocious. Clever. Witty. Bright. Beautiful. Handsome. And I could go on and on about their brilliance. But I hold one truth dear in my heart--they are only viewed this way by me, their father, and God. This viewpoint is completely and totally based on one thing--how much I love them.

The Number One Son--football star.

They are goofy. Make ten stupid decisions daily, each. Are silly, stubborn, argumentative, difficult, crazy, loud, and smack when they chew. They forget to say 'yes ma'am' on a daily. They fight, yell, run, and sometimes don't listen. They back talk. They whine. They argue. (Sometimes even with me.) They are selfish and complicated. I completely believe that they will lie, steal, cheat, and backbite if we don't stay on them consistently, not to mention constantly. It's just the truth. Your precious angel is no different, My Friend. Perhaps you just fail to recognize it and/or admit it. The deal is that you LOVE them more than you SEE them as what they are. Thank God that He does the same thing for me! He loves me for more than just what He sees in me on the surface.

So, here's the deal. These parents in that cheer-viewing aquarium who drove two hours (each way four times a week) were having an obsessive compulsive sort of conversation while analyzing the minutia of their 14-yr-old daughter's back handsprings. I kid you not. I looked out there on the floor, trying to spot Nadia Comaneci, only to see an average height, average build, average looking white girl with brown hair. She was cute as a button, but just sort of...well, average. I could have mistaken her for either Wonder Twin from the back. And her back handspring was, okay, I'll say it, Average. She  bobbled. She righted herself. She went on to the next station. Big whoop. Then the Parental Units had an extended conversation about how little Suzie needed to work on her form, her stance, her confidence, her lift off, her extension, her arm strength.

Okay, I'm a big girl. I have no trouble at all with this. It didn't just happen to me, I was this size when The Husband married me, and I'm all good with that. But these two parents next to me were...were...in need of a full-length mirror and a Moment of Serious Life Evaluation. They were HUGE. And the woman was drinking an extra large milk shake. Like 40 ounces of milk shake. I'm sitting there listening to them down grade their child's accomplishment (I'd like to see some of you try a back handspring from a dead stand still without a bobble), and they both clearly needed to do something as simple as take a walk and eat a salad or just back away from the gargantuan shake. Hello?

Then they went on to chew on their child's splits because she wasn't all the way to the floor (missing by oh, I don't know, a millimeter). Um..ma'am? You can't get out of that chair without pushing with both arms and huffing a little, and you're worried about your child being a paper's width from having her tail on the mat? Hello? HELLO!??? IS ANYONE HOME?????

If you are living vicariously through your children, you should at least make some sort of attempt to join them in their endeavours. I couldn't discuss my child's activity level if I also didn't walk and do aerobics. I couldn't encourage them to try new foods if I turned my nose up at everything offered to me. I would feel like the worst possible kind of role model and example. The very definition of hypocrite. We need a serious priority check in this culture. This is sort of brutal and direct, but perhaps you need to work on you instead of living through your children.

Oh, and Shorties? I'm not ever, for any reason, driving you two hours each way four times a week so that you can practice anything temporal. Ever. Because, quite frankly, I'm all good with you being average, so long as you excel in the things that matter; the things that last.

The Fasionista about to put one over the net.

Galatians 5:22-26 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

I'm not sure that God is all that concerned with your back handspring or your coverage of third base or how you hustle that ball into the end zone. (Perhaps we ought to keep that in mind when we berate our children for their inadequacies.) Before the Sports People have an aneurysm-sized freak out, I'm all about sports. My girls are on the volleyball team, cheer, and play basketball. My son plays every kind of game with a ball that he is eligible for. We are enrolled in piano and art classes. We are McWane Science Center and Zoo and Children's Theater membership people. We go and do every single day of the week on this activity or that activity, because I think those things have amazing, powerful life lessons attached to them.

Wonder Twins on the Spirit Squad
But this is the question we ask ourselves before every single thing we put our children into:

What lasting things are my children learning in sports and activities, and do they reflect what God would have for their life purpose? Am I putting the things of the world before my service to the Lord? Am I modeling what I would have my babies learn and live, or am I living vicariously through my children instead of doing it for myself? Okay, so maybe I'm intense enough. Perhaps we're just on opposing teams. :-)

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