My oldest son plays high school soccer. His position is the goalkeeper which means the game can be won or lost by him. There’s a whole team of players also sharing the burden of winning and losing but let’s be honest, everyone remembers when the goalie misses. I feel a strong connection to the moms of football kickers. You know the guy who kicks the extra point or field goal? They also get the glory or the shame if that ball doesn’t fly through the goal posts. You would think I get super nervous whenever the ball heads his direction, but I actually look forward to it. I love seeing how his skill has grown over the years and the sheer joy and passion he displays every time he’s on the field. He practices for that exact moment. This is what dreams are made of and even a failed dream can be part of the bigger story for life and love. As mamas, we share the joy and pain because our hearts are knit with our kids in their highs and their lows.
One of his teammates caught my attention at a recent game. He plays the position of forward or striker which means he’s the guy that score the goals. I noticed that he had several opportunities to kick the ball in the goal himself, but usually passed to his teammate. His parents were sitting next to me and commented that he was always the one to share the shot with his teammate. His passion was to assist so someone else could make the winning shot. I immediately thought about how that related to motherhood. We can give our kids the assist so they can score the winning shot.
Do you remember the stage of parenting that involved your independent toddler saying, “I do it.” They wanted to get their own drink, tie their own shoes, and buckle their own car seat. I vividly remember my frustration as I desperately wanted to do it FOR them because I knew I was faster. I also remember the bright smile on their face when they did it all by themselves. My impatient love could have taken over in that moment and kept my child from even attempting it themselves, but the greater joy was watching them accomplish the task with a little love-assist from me.
The tasks get bigger with age and no longer is it just buckling a seat belt or tying shoes. Now the pressure is to ace chemistry tests, navigate friendship drama and manage a full schedule of work, school and sports. My impatient love could still take over and plan, protect and produce the desired outcome on them. Could a love-assist in fact be more teachable and encouraging?
Sometimes, love is:
letting them fail but being there to pick them up.
sharing wisdom but the freedom to choose otherwise.
watching them soar into success with that bright smile knowing they did it themselves.
God gave us the amazing opportunity to love our kids in a myriad of ways, each showcasing the love of Jesus with goodness and grace.
How can you encourage your toddler or teen to try it themselves with the security of knowing mom is there no matter the outcome? How can you pass them the ball so they can make the winning shot?
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.1 Corinthians 13:4-7