Football Lessons on Parenting Time
For the last five years, I have been taking photos of my grandson’s football team. My daughter has been the team mom and every year she sorts the tens of thousands of pictures to create a slideshow for the team party. My grandson is in instructional football as he is in elementary school. However, the lessons that I have learned from his team each year have been invaluable.
The first lesson that I have learned is from actually taking the photographs. I watch football through a lens. I follow the action and often do not see what is happening elsewhere. I may have missed a tackle that my grandson made because I thought I was following the ball. Typically, this happens because the quarterback was successful in faking off a hand-off to a player with me. I failed to see who truly received the football. This often happens during a divorce. The focus is one issue that another larger issue is overlooked by the clients. It then becomes my job to announce what the client is not seeing because he has been tricked by a lesser issue to focus on it.
The next lesson I have been taught by these young players is to never give up. I watched a young man get injured on the field. He walked off holding his elbow. He stood on the sidelines cradling his arm, but when his coach called for the offense team, he ran out onto the field cradling his arm. He was a lineman and he had a job to do. Help the center protect the quarterback. This young man, a friend of my grandson, was willing to risk his health and arm to do his job. Often in life, things happen that put us on the sideline. But are we willing to run right back out when our team is called and get back in the game despite our bruised or injured self-esteem.
The final lesson that I have learned is there is plenty of room in the stands for everyone. My daughter will often point out the family’s of her son’s teammates. Knowing what I do, she shows me just how many different kinds of families are in the stands. There are grandparents, step-grandparents, aunts, uncles, new significant others, mothers, fathers, step-mothers, step-fathers and other various extended family members sitting in the stands. Some will sit on other sides of the stands from one another, but together they are cheering on their child. Some blended families are sitting in one big bunch understanding that they are there to celebrate the game of football and the child’s accomplishments.
It is in those families that I see the hope and potential for our future. It is parents and families, who understand on Sunday afternoons, no matter the weather, the focus is what the child loves to do and to celebrate the growth in skills and teamwork occurring on the field. From this positive parenting time interactions among these divorced and blended families, I see where we, as a society, are headed and it inspires me.