The Fourth Best Soccer Player In The Fifth Grade
The other day when I got home from work our 6-year-old came running while simultaneously asking me to, “Guess what happened at school!”
I hand’t a clue, but I was certainly curious.
The words burst out of his mouth, “I stole the ball from the fourth best soccer player in the fifth grade!”
He and his fifth grade brother gave each other a high five with huge grins on their faces. Lorelei reminded him it was a good thing that we didn’t “take it easy” on him during the family soccer game at the farm last weekend (even thought he asked us to). She suggested that playing full steam with his fifth grade brother may have helped him become the new fourth best player in the fifth grade…as a first grader. He smiled even bigger.
This is a kid who insisted he did not want to play soccer. Conversely, Lorelei and I have insisted that all of our kids play recreational soccer. Whether or not they want to continue after the first couple of years is up to them. We believe the game is a great onramp into organized sports for all kids. At the recreational level it’s really about running around and having fun, and they get to have experiences with coaching and teamwork in loving, kind spaces.
This is our 6-year-old’s first season and he’s rocking it. After his reluctance to join up, he quickly found a place on the team and a place in his heart for the game. Now, he’s running with the pack, developing skills and having tons of fun each week. In the beginning, we could hardly get him to take the field for practice.
It was the same with piano lessons (another non-non-negotiable for the Berg kids). His energy around that weekly torment continues to ebb and flow. Ironically, he’s doing great in both endeavors. “Great” meaning engaged and demonstrating growth and intermittent joy around that growth. He’s learning to understand himself as a learner on the piano and on the soccer field, and that’s the name of the game as we sed it. He’s regularly feeling a sense of accomplishment, which research shows is good for health and well-being.
Throughout the year there are plenty of wonderful events and activities available to our kids. I would suggest that it’s important to give them gentle nudges from time to time, and to help guide them through the resilience it takes to stay with short and long term goals, and community/team commitments.
Keep an eye out for programs and events for kids, have conversations to determine interest, approach those conversations with enthusiasm, push a bit when you see a spark, and be a guide through the challenges that kids face along pathways to progress as they learn the range of critical skills that will no doubt transfer to a multure of areas in school, work and life.
Community and school programs are safe and caring spaces for kids to make mistakes, experience and build through failures and successes, and problem solve around challenges and celebrate triumphs. Who knows, they may even find themselves becoming the fourth best soccer player in the fifth grade!
Thanks for reading…in it together for the kids!
Live. Love. Listen. Learn. Lead.