Monday, October 4, 2010

How Football Has Grown Me

For the last two years, Garrison has become increasingly interested in football.  He has asked to play in the past, and we have held him off.  This season rolled around and we prayed about it again.  We really felt the Lord was guiding us to allow him to play.

This was so hard for me!  I fought this kicking and screaming inside.  I like his face!  I don't want him injured or messed up because of barbaric tackling!  How this sport is considered fun is way beyond my understanding.  However, I have come to understand that my mind works NOTHING like a male mind and most things I will not understand...EVER!  This is why kids need a mom and a they get both perspectives and opinions BALANCED!

My husband really helps me to allow my boys to be boys.  I help him to help his boys be sensitive guys and not self-centered jerks!  It works well when it's done right...the way God intended.  It's exhausting, but it's worth it!

It's now October.  Garrison started conditioning in August I believe.  I really thought the intensity of that would turn him off enough that he wouldn't pursue this feat.  Boy was I wrong!
Then, I thought that once he got hit hard a few times, that would be the end of it all.  Wrong again.

In fact, I have been so wrong about this whole experience that I have been humbled to tears.  I have been wrong about what sports can teach a child, the approach coaches take, where my son really is in his understanding...believe me, I could make you a LONG and humiliating list!

It's been on my heart to write on this blog about Garrison and this experience for a few weeks now.  I don't want you to get the wrong impression.  I'm not sharing this to brag about my kid, but I do want to brag about the God he knows and how He works through willing hearts, as well as how His principles bless His children.

At the very first conditioning, the varsity coach was leading the boys.  He explained some things and then said, "Okay are you guys ready to run?"  Garrison shouts, "Yes Sir!"  The coach stops and looks at him for a few seconds and says, "Well son, you don't have to because we don't need to teach you respect."

This was the FIRST impression my son gave these people!  Within a matter of minutes, by the means of a humble heart toward this coach and his position of authority AND two simple, but respectful words, Garrison set an example and impacted an ENTIRE group of people.
Let me explain why this thrills my heart.  

In a culture where young people are running around cursing their authority, my son chose to honor.  In a time where authority figures have come to expect very little from those placed under them, my son gave them a pleasant surprise.

Can I tell you that Garrison isn't naturally gifted to play football?  The sweet boy has struggled with coordination his whole 12 years of life!  He used to turn around and talk to us and walk smack into the wall...over and over again
My classic statement about Garrison is that he is brilliant but not so bright!  I say that in jest, but it is baffling to me how he can retain all that he knows, figure out complex math equations, fix nearly anything I need fixed on a computer, yet cannot remember how to sort the laundry!

He use to trip just trying to run and now he is out on this field doing these exercises that would make grown men cry like a baby!  He absolutely astounds me with how he can stategize play formations, and I have watched him time and time again respectfully correct his coach on who is supposed to be in the game or out of the game or where the players are supposed to be on the field.  If a player is down, he is right there to offer a hand up.
I have watched in amazement at how Garrison goes out to the field and gives 1000%. He is usually the first one to run on the field and the last one to leave it...after he picks up the equipment, loads the trucks, and even makes sure all the water bottles are thrown away!

I don't say this because I need to gloat about my boy.  I say this as a testimony to every parent out there who is striving to teach their child how to live God's way.  

I will be honest.  I get lots of compliments on Garrison.  I am not surprised that he is well-behaved on that football field.  What I have had my eyes open to is how much he has embraced God's principles as his own.
Yes, we taught him to say "Yes Sir" or "No Ma'am."  Yes, we have taught him that God appoints all leadership, and God expects Him to honor all leadership with his words and actions.  However, teaching anyone a concept never, ever guarantees that they will walk it out.

We have spent a lot of time trying to convey to our boys WHY they need to honor, respect, submit in their heart, and obey in their actions.  What thrills my heart is that Garrison has listened to teaching and put it into action and now reaped the reward honor brings!

I never expected that football would nail home a point that I labor in prayer my sons will seek to live!  

Garrison has went above and beyond what I could have asked of him as a parent.  Especially as his mom, who just wanted to yank him off the team when he left practice and fought tears every night on the drive home.  He has experienced exhaustion in every form I believe.  But even when he wanted to quit, he didn't just walk away.  He made the decision HIMSELF to pray for a week and then he stretched to two weeks because he felt no answer come!
Believe me, I desperately wanted to say that's it.  But, I knew with all my heart that God was saying, "Encourage him to stick with it.  I have a plan for all of this."

Every week at the games, in the aggressive and nerve-wracking atmosphere, I want to be done, but God says no.

I am here to testify to you that God can and will use ANYTHING to teach us, mold us, train us, and prove to us that His ways are beyond our comprehension!

Am I proud of my boy?  You betcha!  I like hearing that he is one of the best players on the team now...that he has grown the most and is the most improved, but more than anything else, I treasure seeing the look on his face when he knows in his heart he gave his all...just like Jesus did.
I have NO idea what all God has used, is using, and will use this experience for, but I do know that I am astounded to see His tangible touch upon my family.  I am awed how He truly uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise.  I am grateful to be able to peek in and see what is transforming in my son's heart.

The passion that drives me every single day is to see my sons love the Lord with all their hearts, minds, souls, and love their neighbor as they love stand up in a crooked and depraved generation, making a marked difference and NOT fitting in with their peers!


Katie Ashcraft said...

wow- what a proud mom you must be. to see how God used you for parents to teach those boys the TRUTH and then to see them use that truth! amazing. I have kinda of a similar story. Kent was in track for 2 years, and he is not fasted most coordinated kid. He never one first, second or third place in any event he tried. But he was proud that he always got PR's (personal best) and when they were handing out awards at the end of the year (his second year) he didn't receive anything just like the previous year. at the very end I was trying to sneak out of the award ceremony cause I was already late for work, and the coach asked me to wait cause they had a special award for Kent that he didn't even know about. I was goin to be even later for work I was not going to miss this. out over 200+ kids Kent won the coaches award. and to hear that whole room of kids cheering Kent on to get his award was amazing. he didn't get it cause he was the fastest runner, he always stayed late and helped clean the field of trash always helped the coached without being asked, cheered on his team mates, etc etc. I will never forget that moment. God gave us such precious gifts in children! love ya, Katie

Mindy said...

Wow Katie! What an honor for Kent! And wouldn't you rather see him get a reward for that...for his character...than for his physical ability! That is heart God can use!

Laura said...

That was amazing Mindy! Is that not the total desire of our hearts that our children would glorify God, even on a football field?!?! Praise God that Garrison is walking out what he has been taught and He so knows the God he serves. So awesome!!!!! Thanks for sharing that and in such a humble way, too!!! *TEARS*