As I watched my son kick the dirt on the field, it was painfully obvious that soccer was not his thing. When we asked him if he wanted to play another year, he said, “Yes,” but I knew better.
I watched him get excited about singing. I watched him get excited about building stuff. I saw his enthusiasm over camping, forging trails, and learning a new musical instrument.
But I rarely saw him get excited over kicking a ball.
In the journey of motherhood, it is so easy for me to jump on the bandwagon of what other parents are doing. Other moms are signing their kids up for soccer, so I sign my son up too. Their kids are participating in multiple sports. So I naturally wonder if my son should have a full docket of sports activities as well.
All of these interests are worthy of pursuing and help build character. But here’s the thing.
In all of my preoccupation with what other mothers are doing, I miss out on the unique personality of my child.
I want to train up my child in the way he should go, not in the way every other child is going. And my child is distinct and special just the way God created him. My desire is to push him to be exactly who God designed him to be, not to try to be someone else.
Not to be who I am or who his dad is or his cousin or his friend. Just his one-of-kind self.
In the words of Thriving Family writer Wess Stafford, “The spirit of a child is a lot like wet cement. It doesn’t take much effort to make an imprint. Any time you see your child go skipping by, you’re in the presence of a construction zone and out to ask yourself, ‘What is being built here? Is there anything I can do to advance this cause?'”
I looked at my son and considered his personality. I thought about what I could do to help him not just survive, but thrive.
So the other night when the flyer for the Cub Scouts came home in my son’s school folder, I looked at my husband and said, “This is something Jaden would love.” He wholeheartedly agreed and took him to his first pack meeting the following Thursday.
When my six-year-old came home that evening, he was grinning from ear to ear.
“I’m a Cub Scout now, Mama,” he said as he showed me his new hat and stood proudly in the kitchen with his bag of popcorn.
The hat was so big it made his head look tiny.
“Wow, look at that! That is the coolest, buddy!” I listened to all of his latest adventures as he put his gear in his room, where he supposed it would be safe from the mischievous hands of his little brother.
As we winded into our bedtime routine and got the kids down for the night, I reflected on the events of the evening. My son had found something that fit. He was going to be a part of a group that would help him develop into the man he would one day become.
When I saw his smile and watched him walk tall, I knew we had taken a step in the right direction.