It didn’t turn out like we’d planned.
At five years old, Micah could have easily passed for the Energizer Bunny. In a desperate attempt to burn off some of his inexhaustible energy, Mike and I had the bright idea to enroll him in YMCA spring soccer.
A college-level athlete, Mike entertained lofty visions of his boy’s emergence as the Tiger Woods Wonderboy of the soccer world.
Micah’s athletic drive, however, more closely resembled, well … mine. And, let me assure you, I ain’t no Wondergirl.
After a few mere practices, Micah’s coach made this assessment: Keeping him on the field is kind of a challenge. He’s a little distracted.
She was being far too kind. Micah, in fact, was completely oblivious.
Socializing with his girl teammates was a far more interesting sport than what was happening on the field.
During his first shot at competition, his dad and I beamed with pride when our son committed the game’s first-ever recorded “hugging violation.”
What’s that you ask? Well, Micah and his equally affectionate friend Brooke – on the complete opposite side of the field from where the game was being played -- were laughing and embracing so enthusiastically that they knocked themselves over and were rolling on the ground.
Mike: Good night! It’s a dad’s dream. My son was just benched for hugging. I can die a happy man.
As the season progressed, signs of an impassioned athlete remained deeply buried. The season’s low point was the game when Micah and Brooke discovered a nearby light pole. Exiting the field and without a care in the world, the two danced and sang as they ran circles around “the maypole,” completely unaware of the activity transpiring on the field.
I can laugh at the whole experience now, but looking back, Micah’s father and I had some pretty serious and weighty expectations for a five-year-old.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about standards vs. expectations when it comes to my kids.
According to Merriam Webster’s Online Dictionary, expectation is “to anticipate or look forward to the coming or occurrence of.” Standard, on the other hand, is defined as “something established by authority … as a model or example.”
The more I’ve thought about it, the more I think it is somewhat unfair to have expectations of my kids. Expectations are often based on MY wants, my desires, which certainly aren’t all bad. But they can be colored by my own hurts, hang-ups, and often unconscious desire to rewrite parts of my own childhood.
I can never go wrong, however, by holding my kids to standards based on the authority of Christ. Those standards are always right and true. If my children adhere to them, they should never disappoint me, even if their path doesn’t meet my expectations.
Take that, Tiger Woods.
The Lord’s instruction is right; it makes our hearts glad. His commands shine brightly, and they give us light. Psalm 19:8 (Contemporary English Version)
NOTE: Fellow bloggers, I know I have been MIA on your blogs lately. Two kids starting school, a flurry of deadlines and ministry obligations and technical difficulties with my blog have had me leading a crazed existence. I have blocked out time later in the week to catch up with all of you 'cause I miss ya! ;0)