Friday, October 19, 2007

Being Involved

One way that we can help our children stay on the right track in life is to be involved. We try to help with any activity we can. We often giggle to ourselves when we hear someone use their children as the excuse to not get involved. I am always tempted to ask if they were coaches before they had children or if they plan to teach a class at church when their own kiddos are grown. "I can't coach I have three children and you have no idea how hard it is to get their dinner on the table." or "I don't know how you do it with these two and still teach at church, my one child is so demanding and he doesn't want me around!" I want to say I don't have 3 children but 9, my house isn't in perfect order, we eat out too often, BUT you need to be worried when your child doesn't want you around.

My husband and I were blessed with parents that saw the value in connecting with us through our activities. Mimi, my mom, would say that even though she hated to always be the driver that it was the best time to connect with us. That time in the car is so important. Even if it was just silence. Often it would start off quiet with the music playing but as the ride went on so did the conversation. I miss those rides with my mom. My husband's mom and dad, Nanie and Gramps, were always very involved with the church and sporting organizations. My husband has wonderful family memories of his mom and dad leading the church carnivals and fund raising auctions. Those events help to involve their children into the faith and the parish life and also brought the family together.

Nanie and Gramps also set the example for us by helping to coach. They were able to share their interest in the sport with their children. They also knew who their child's friends were. Nanie carried on that tradition with Pooker when we still lived in St. Louis. At that time my dear husband and I were helping to run the CYC volleyball program in our area, but Nanie was the one on the court each week coaching Pooker and her friends.

Too often my husband and I are asked how come our kids are so close to each other? We are asked how come our kids are so well behaved? The answer is to do what Mimi, Nanie and Gramps did. GET INVOLVED!! Sometimes it means just being the driver to an event for the entire group. They will talk to you during the car rides if you also listen. Laugh at yourself and remember that you are the parent not the friend. Talk to them when you listen to the song that is blaring bad words. Don't just turn it off, find out why they like it and explain why you don't. Coach, teach, volunteer and any other way you can be involved.

These are happy girls that have had the love and support from their parents and grand parents. I am not trying to say that we never have a problem. Our good kids get off track very easily, just like everyone else. I would never pass judgement on anyone by assuming that their child is in trouble because they are not involved. I am just trying to point out that to truly love your child you must die to yourself. In our world that means give up you rest time, your pride, your workout time, your personal time and get involved. Be the coach that knows the team. You will not regret the connection you will be able to make with them and their friends.

We are very grateful that my dear husband got the opportunity to help coach this year. We are thankful to the other parents that gave up their free time to coach, know and love our other girls this volleyball season. We are thankful to Mimi, Nanie and Gramps for setting that wonderful example and for keeping us out of trouble. (. . . OK and loving us anyway, even when we got into trouble.)

So get involved and enjoy the time with your child and their friends! I promise you will not be disappointed.

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