Sunday, November 21, 2010

Parental Disappointment

Doctor:  Congratulations!  You've got a son!
Me:  Wow!  A son!
Wife:  Oh look at him!  He is beautiful!
Me:  He sure is!  Handsome!  Rugged!  He is going to be a star Athlete!
Wife:  He can be anything he wants to be...
Me:  So long as he is Athletic!  And rough and rugged like his Dad!
Wife:  Ummmm... I don't think you are as rough and rugged as you think you are...

And as simple as that, the expectations were set.  Yes, I had two wonderful boys - at least one of them would wind up being interested in Sports or some kind of Physical activity.  Right!  Right?

Wife:  Sooooo, football?  Hockey?
Me:  Are you kidding me?  Do you know how much those sports cost!  Think cheap... soccer... baseball... the European sports.
Wife:  Alright, well, there is a baseball league in the nearest town.  Only 40$ a kid.
Me:  Perfect!  Lets go!

It wasn't long into the 1st practice that I could see my dreams of having an Athletic son started to fade.

K waiting for his turn to bat
Wife:  What is he doing?
Me:  Huh?  Who?
Wife:  Our son.
Me:  AAAaah, yes, number 14 playing the out field!  He is doing great!  Look at him run and catch the ball!  Amazing!
Wife:  That's not our son.
Me:  I'm pretending it is.  I don't think his parents are around.  WAY TO GO NUMBER 14!!! YEAAAAA!!! WHOOOOOOO!
Wife:  Look at your son.  Over there.  By the 1st base.  What is he doing?
Me:  Oh.  Right.  Um, he is taking the orange cone pylon, and filling it up with sand.  Then, he pulls the cone up, and laughs as the sand pyramid crumbles down.
Wife:  Aaaah, well... that would explain why the cone is almost at second base.  But look at how happy he is!
Wife:  Oh look!  He's waving at you!  Isn't be beautiful!  He is so happy!
Me:  Shhhh!  Don't wave back!  Others will know he is ours!

Maybe baseball just wasn't his "thing".... there are other sports right?  Enter son #2...
D (son #2) - my chance at redemption?
Wife:  What is he doing?
Me:  Our son, he's leading the offensive charge!  Look at him out there - number 14!
Wife:  Isn't that the same kid from baseball?
Me:  Yea, isn't he great?  Way to go number 14!
Wife:  Oh look!  There is our son!
Me:  *siiiiigh*  Yea.  He's uh... he's chasing the butter fly.
Wife:  Oh he looks so happy!
Me:  Son, case the ball!  The soccer ball!  Not the butter fly!
Wife:  He's waving at you!  Look how proud he is!
Me:  The BALL!!!  GET THE BALL!  Oh, look... great... he is coming this way.
D:  Look Mom!  I pick you flowers!
Wife:  Oh I LOVE you baby!
Me:  Okay, D, now you're here... listen to me... you are playing soccer!  You run!  You run hard!  And you KICK that ball hard!  Now, go get it!
D:  Okay Daddy!
Wife:  Oh look at him run!  He is so fast!  Oh, whats he doing?  Why is he shaking?
Me:  *Ungh*  He thinks he is Mega Man.
Wife:  Mega who?
Me:  Mega man.  From his video game.  He is "charging" his shot.  Look at his pose... leg lifted back in the air, arms up, head down... shaking.  In the Mega Man game, you hold the "shoot" button down for a few seconds and Mega Man strikes that same pose, and starts to shake... the longer you hold the button, the stronger the shot will be... he is charging his shot.
Wife:  Oh look!  Someone just took the ball away.
Me:  *siiiigh*
Wife:  I'm so proud of you baby!
D Mega Man-ing it
Now thankfully, our little G is quite the soccer player!  Yup, our eldest daughter is my little striker.  She can rack up 5 or 6 goals in a game.  You should see her hustle out there!  She is chasing down girls waaaay bigger than her, muscling them off the ball... amazing!
G looking cute, but she will eat you alive on the pitch!
It's funny how as a parent, I put so many of my expectations on my children.  And they really were my expectations.  And when my beautiful children did not reach my expectations - when they "failed" - I was some how... disappointed in them.

The funniest part of it all though, is that my children never failed.  I did.

They simply excelled in ways which I was too blinded to see.  Yes, they were having fun, and that is great.  But forget the sports all together.  I was so blinded by my own thoughts on who my children should be, that I missed who they were!

  • I missed the fact that both my boys were excelling in music!
  • I missed the fact that our 2nd born son was invited to a Robot conference in US (where only Government, Military and Universities were allowed to attend) because he was so knowledgeable on the subject at the tender age of 6!
  • I missed the fact that our eldest son preached at church when he was like 5!
  • I missed the fact that our eldest daughter raised ~200$ for Haiti children instead of getting gifts at her birthday!
  • I missed the fact that they were beautiful, and loving, and amazing children that any parent would want!

K preaching at church
D posing for a picture at the Robo-Conference
I ran the risk of missing all the wonderful things that my children were accomplishing because I was so fixated on what I wanted them to be... instead of noticing who they really were.

And I wonder... how much of that do we put on our children without knowing it?  We expect our children to be perfect - to have no special needs.  And why?  Because of what we think our children should be?

For the sake of our families, may we never "pass by" a child simply because we are too scared, or too blinded to see beyond the physical.

To that beautiful little girl who is in a wheel chair, or a little boy who has Hepatitis B, may we never let our limitations limit what our children can be.

And may our eyes focus not on who they are not - but may they be forever focused on who they truly are.


  1. I have failed my oldest in more ways than I care to imagine in the arena of putting far too much pressure on him to accomplish things in a certain way at a certain age. He recently told me that Boy Scouts became a lot more fun after his mother and I backed off. He turns 14 in two days and he's almost a brown belt in karate. I never see him practice and I don't ask him to anymore. I have learned that in many areas I have to be the training wheels while he steers the bike. He’s been the baseball dirt-pyramid builder. He’s picked flowers in center field. He’s a fun, funny, smart kid who will be my size in a couple of years and surely capable of kicking my butt in more ways than I can imagine. But he’s a good kid, so he won’t. With my younger two, I am learning to see what they offer before I place any expectations on them. It’s parenting 101through the school of hard knocks. But if you are writing such a heart-felt blog, I am certain that you are parenting far better than you might think.

  2. Eh, I just kind of stumble though life hoping I'm getting it "right" more than I'm getting it "wrong". :-)

  3. Great post, Adrian!

    It reminded me of yelling at my youngest brother to concentrate when he was playing soccer, as he was staring up at the clouds all the time. :) Boy did he turn our to play some serious guitar, sing and write worship music!

    It reminded me of my husband describing himself holding his baseball glove over his face because it was "too cold outside" and missing the fly ball. LOL Boy did he turn out to have an outstanding singing voice and the ability to direct music!

    We all just have to try a lot of things and our true talents and desires will start to shine through. I tell my kids, just try it, you never know...