Common Problems

Yesterday I was at my son's football practice watching the kids (11 year olds) hit, run, catch and collide. Sitting at the sideline was one of my son's friends. I went over to ask why he wasn't practicing. He told me he had done something bad. He obviously didn't want to talk about it. Just about then, one of the coaches came and asked him to make a choice, "either you can sit there and watch; or, you can run. You choose."

I went over to him, took a knee, and asked, which he was going to choose. He was quiet. I asked, "which of the two choices that coach gave you do you think you should choose?" I told him to get up and we figured a plan for him to run the whole football yard for the next 40 minutes, allowing for water breaks.

A couple times those water breaks were a bit long. Twice, though, the players on the field were freed to take a water break also. As they cam over and saw their teammate running and not practicing, they asked, "hey why aren't you practicing?" I took him aside and said, "you don't like that question today, do you?" It was obvious. "When they come over for a break, you run. Don't stand here waiting to be questioned." So he ran.

Later today I'll see him again. This time I'll tell him I was proud of him for running and working. Then we'll talk a bit about what he did to earn the sideline and the running. He's a good kid. He made a bad choice, actually more than one.

Thinking about it, there's not a lot that happens with kids that is different between Christians and non-Christians. We have different resources, different ideas, different recourse. There is a great difference in some areas of our lives. But when it comes to kids knocking at the door of puberty, of adolescence, well that's an area of heartache and wonder for all parents, coaches, kids and athletes.