Friday, January 11, 2008

Coaching Third Graders

I was going to talk about teeth today, but something happened on Monday that I have to tell you about.

My son Luke is truly a gifted athlete. I have been throwing and shooting the ball with him since he could stand. Now I am not saying he is going Pro or anything, but he is a “baller.” (I mean his dad is 5’10 (with heals on) and his mother is 5’4, I think the only thing he could possibly go pro in is golf). He can play all sports and play them well.
Not only is he a good athlete, he’s an all around good kid (he has got a great heart) and I like being around him. So much so, that I coach him in two of the three sports he plays. (My son goes to our church’s school. So we play other private Christian schools around town. There is a pretty organized league called the Association of Christian Youth Sports, ACYS.)

I have coached his flag football team for three years and just started the basketball season. I know you all are starting to chuckle before I get to the good stuff.

Coaching flag football to third graders can make you laugh and cry. My staff loved to laugh at me. Monday was practice day and Saturdays were the games, so they couldn't wait until Tuesday morning so I could tell them the stories from the past weekend.

Coaching brings a lot of interactions with the kids and with the parents.

Well, I started basketball practice last Friday. I get out of work at 3 p.m. so I can jet to the school and get a practice in right after school. The first game is this Saturday so I have been trying to get at least three practices in before our first game. I don't work on Monday’s so we met for practice right after school.

We have seven kids on this third-grade team. Buddy is one of the kids, and he has a second grade brother, Josh. Their mom asked the school if Buddy and Josh can be on the same sports teams. The school, being very accommodating, said no problem. So Buddy and Josh are on my team.

Now Josh is the youngest kid on the team and the smallest in stature, but he is not that far behind in skill.

So, we begin our lay-up drills. This is two lines, one doing the shooting, one doing the rebounding. Easy enough.

Josh, being the youngest is a bit immature. So in the line he is always cutting up. So, the first time I saw him messing with some of the other kids I pointed out that I see him and I wanted it to stop. I turn around again and he is pulling some other kids pants down. I again gently told him to stop. Well, the third time is where things started to go bad.

I took Josh aside and I told him, “You are going to have to sit out a couple of minutes because this is what is going to happen …” and before I could get out my reprimand he says, “Whatever.”
I said, “What did you say?”
And he said, “I said, WHAT EVER”.
I then said, “Listen, Josh, this is not how you should talk to people.”
He says, “This is how I always talk to people.”
Trying to stay calm, I said, “Well, I don’t care how you talk to people you shouldn’t talk to me this way, it is disrespectful…”
And before I could get the last bit out he says, “Blah, blah, blah.” He actually said this.
Now let’s just take a deep breath and think about how wrong this is on so many fronts. And I am not even done with the story.

I know this sounds weird, but I don’t blame Josh. So, I didn’t stick my size 10 shoe in his mouth. He did not want to participate in the rest of the practice. So, he was no longer a problem during this practice.

After practice Josh’s mother shows up. I began to explain to her all of the events and when I was telling her what went down with Josh, she went on to say to me, “Yeah, he does that sometimes.”

Somehow, she knew that he didn’t practice. So, she went on to say, “Well you know, if he doesn’t practice he won’t get to play.” What she wanted me to do was not play him during the game. So she wanted me to be the heavy. She wanted me to “discipline” Josh.

Thankfully, that is the end of the story but do you see what I am saying? I send my kids to this school because of the education but more for the environment. I was looking for a place where my kids can be around kids that are like him. Kids that live with boundaries and when they try to push beyond those boundaries, they get smacked back in.
Ted Tripp is the dude that wrote Shepparding a Child's Heart. He speaks about the Circle of Blessing (Galatians 3). If the child goes outside of it, he will not receive the richness and the blessings that are in the circle (where there is obedience and respect). You want your child to have richness and blessing, so you should use corrective discipline.

Is it me or is this stuff kind of intuitive?

I mean the Bible says, “Spare the rod, hate the child” Proverbs 13:24

Now, Josh is 7, if he never gets corrective discipline (Bible talk for smack in the mouth or soap in the mouth, for you non-spankers) for talking back or for being disrespectful; how does he learn?

What is it going to look like when Josh is 15? I feel bad for Josh. I have been thinking a lot about this. The team and I have practice this afternoon. I will take Josh aside today and explain to him that I want him to succeed. Tell him what I expect out of him and what will happen if he steps out of line. I will tell him I like him a lot, and the things that he does or says will never change that. (I kind of think by saying this stuff he was testing to see what kind of a guy I was. “I am going to push this guy away and see if he will still love me.”)

I will tell you how it goes. Wish me luck.

Last thing, totally unrelated. I am running my first marathon on Sunday. I have been training for about six months and it all comes to a head at the land of magic, Disney World. I have to be there at 4a.m. I will let you know how it goes.


Buckeyedental said...

Dear John
Hope you did well at the Disney Marathon not to cold this year. I have not done a Marathon will be doning the Sarasota half again in March. Biggest problem I habe with three children and the office practice time, work outs are 5:00 am or 8:30 PM.

I have worked with children like Josh at church also age groups 3 to 14 over the years Awana, Upward sports, and Sundat school teacher. Also my three have been in Christan School in the past. I have found that even in church, but mostly in the general community children are being rought up without boundaries(child centered parenting). But children like boundaries it gives them safety let Josh know what you expect and why, also let him know what will happen if he goes out of the bounaries. If your Church and School are like mine the school and sports programs are a part of outreach. Be the example of Christ for them love patience, kindness, grace, forgiving, and displine. With that said there have been children over the years we have had to ask not to attend(all in sports not Sunday school). Good luck Josh and his Mom let know how it goes.

Kim Shaw

Buckeyedental said...

Just read my post I need spell check I went Good luck with Josh and his Mom let me know how it goes.

Buckeyedental said...

Dear John
After last couple days thought you would need a easy posting. I would like to know how things were going with Josh and coaching.
Kim Shaw


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