An uncertain start for both. One pouted, the other protested. One doing what he wanted, the other wanting those around him to do what he wanted. Entering the unknown is a daunting task for all of us, how we handle such is unique to each of us.
We don’t ask much of our boys with regards to sports beyond that they at least try. Organized sports can teach much to our children; lessons learned and challenges faced from beyond the protection of our protective wings.
Try they both did and challenges they both faced.
It seems like ages ago our now 5-year-old was pouting on the sidelines, refusing to participate in his first outdoor soccer practice. A practice his grandparents from NJ made a special trip up to see. Now? We have to tell him to watch his arms and elbows as he gently reminds the other kids in his vicinity that the soccer ball is in fact his and his alone. We note that twinkle he has in his eye when playing in scrimmages, a twinkle that signifies anything short of winning will not be accepted. Something we don’t suppress, but at the same time remind him often that winning isn’t everything and that trying your best and having fun with your teammates is what’s most important.
The 2-year-old presents an entirely new set of circumstances. His “out of the gates” protest was a little more direct. He didn’t sit on the sidelines, nor did he hide his disapproval of the situation. He stood right there in the middle of the field, stomped his foot and sucked his thumb. He disagreed with the situation and wanted everyone around him to know this. Like his older brother, he finally warmed to the game and participated in most of the practice, but unlike his older brother, he did it with a full head of steam and still wanted everything to go according to his plan. Waiting his turn to kick the soccer ball into the goal was as much of a challenge as going through the pop-up tunnel from one side only.
Only time will tell if little brother has that twinkle in his eye like big brother, but early signs definitely point to more raw/natural talent than competitive spirit. Slippery and elusive, yet determined and committed defines the oldest. He wants to score goals, he likes to score goals and he does score goals. Forceful and direct, yet independent and indifferent defines the youngest. He probably wants to score goals, also might not care if he scores goals, but he definitely will score goals.
Watching my two little soccer stars bring their own approach to the same game is giving me great perspective on them and even life in general. As with much in life, and as we often discuss here at the Round Table with regards to parenting, there is no single, correct approach to that which we face on a daily basis. We are all individuals and handle things in our own way based on our experiences and body chemistry. Before I was a “wise and knowledgeable” father, I thought my children would be similar in looks and in personality and it turns out that nothing could be further from the truth.
My boys are different, their approach to the same game is different, and in this difference is the beauty of life.
They are different, right?