I am the only girl among three siblings. Both of my younger brothers grew up playing basketball and following the PBA or NBA games all the time. The elder of the two boys would join summer tournaments in our village. While our youngest enrolled in Milo’s Basketball Summer Clinic in his elementary days.
Up to this day, my father and two brothers are still basketball fanatics. My father even watches the PBA games live at the stadium. One time he invited Coby, our son, to watch the PBA games with him but the boy looked at him and said no.
My father seemed bothered when he saw that Coby does not show any interest in basketball. I explained that Coby is not the athletic type and I saw the disappointment on his face. He feels Coby’s indifference to any sports activity is a waste because of his height, built and simply because HE IS A BOY.
Coby was absorbed with cars and Lego sets as a toddler. He was already verbalizing car brands as early as two years old. I would sometimes joke that his first word was “auto”. Aside from cars, he was a serious builder. He would create masterpieces using his Lego, K’nex or any other building set he can get his hands on.
At age 5, he hopped on his bike without the trainer wheels and rode away. Riding his bike would be his routine every afternoon. He imagines his bicycle is his car.
Now that he is 10, he would give his bike a “bike wash” so to speak. His BMX bike is his prized possession. Now that he is fairly tall, my father allowed him to use his own mountain bike and Coby was thrilled.
Aside from biking, I felt he needed more than just pedaling every afternoon. I insisted that he has to be involved in a sports activity. Every summer we would be inquiring at different classes like soccer, karate, badminton, and tennis but he refused to be part of any class. He would make excuses not to and I get piqued by his excuses. He claims that his biking is already his “sports” activity but I disagreed.
You could say that somehow my father’s frustration about Coby rubbed on me. I began to feel the pressure that because he is a boy he should be into sports. I don’t want people to see him as a weakling or less of a boy (man) because he does not dribble a ball on his hand or runs wildly and aimlessly all the time.
I continued to read about boys who don’t engage in sports and was encouraged by the articles. There is no need for me to force him to be “athletic” if he is not wired that way. But a part of me wants to try one more activity for him this summer and if the shoe doesn’t fit, so be it. I can’t force my son to be able-bodied if he was not designed by God that way.
Lately, I had a conversation with another homeschooling mom about a swim class for our kids. This mom found a coach who incidentally also coaches for the Milo Summer Sports Clinic. When I shared the news to Coby he was not hesitant to try this at all. Especially when I pointed out that swimming is not only a sport but it is also a life skill that he needed to learn. He readily agreed.
Both Coby and Jianne were enrolled together with six other homeschooling kids. As I observed Coby, there was an awkwardness in his movements. I don’t know if this is brought about by his age of self-consciousness or he may be simply uncoordinated. But he follows the instruction and Teacher Flor is very patient with him.
During this time, God reminded me to focus on Coby’s gifts instead of looking at what he is supposed to be doing. I forgot that this boy is an artist. He is creative and innovative. He appreciates good music and is now showing interest in learning the guitar or piano. This is where I need to direct his energy, to cultivate his artistic skills and not make him into someone he is not.
As a mom, there are times when I feel swayed by how the world wants me to bring up my children. However, there is a danger to this because the kids are not allowed to be themselves. They are no longer free to do enrich whatever skills God has bestowed on them simply because moms like me feel the need to keep up with the world.
But then again, who knows our kids better than us their parents. Our well-meaning friends and family do not know our kids intimately, only WE have the sole responsibility and privilege to see them for who they are. We have in our hands the opportunity to partner with God to explore all of their God-given gifts and support their skills.
4 Fathers,[b] do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4
Dear Moms and Dads, what are your child’s unique gifts and skills? How do you nurture them? Let’s share in the comments section.