As I sit here watching tv, switching between Modern Family and James Spann and waiting to land in Oz, I am taking time to reflect on my weekend. I was blessed to experience two examples of leadership training in the Mountain Brook City Schools system.
If you are familiar with Cherokee Bend they have a program called FOAC. It is a pretty cool program teaching kids teamwork and leadership. They have classes for a certain amount of weeks and then the fifth and sixth grades have weekend campouts. My son had his campout this past weekend. He also had his rec league tournament. I took him out of the campout for a couple of hours so he could play his game…mistake. Anyway, when I came to get him, I walked in on him explaining his experience on the ropes course he had completed just moments before I arrived. He described how he was scared at points. Mr Hedrick, who is AWESOME, prompted him with great questions to explain how he got through through those points. I was so proud of him at that point. I had tears in my eyes. He talked about how his team helped talk him through it. TEAMWORK. Teamwork breeds leadership.
TEAMWORK BREEDS LEADERSHIP. What a great thing to teach our youth. I watched a movie a couple of weeks ago about a high school football team who lost a lot of games, got a new coach and started winning:) Anyway, the coach said “football does not build character, football brings out the character in you”. Truer words have never been spoken.
Building character in a child begins at home. I am not a perfect parent and will never claim to be. My family has just as many issues as yours. I’m fumbling along trying to do my best. My illness does not help. When I get manic, as I was Sunday, I get irritable and snap at my children and husband. I find the silliest things to yell, yes yell, at them about. I am not proud of it. Some days I just can’t control it. I have to step away from those I love and regroup. But I tell them I love them and move on.
Parenting can be a crap shoot. Your oldest usually takes the brunt of it too. You think you are doing right by them by expecting so much from them. You tell them in one breath that all they have to do is their best and in the next you tell them that is not enough. I have done that with my oldest and many times it has backfired. I just want the best for him, in some ways better things than I had and I had a pretty good life. Then I stop. I realize what an incredibly awesome kid he is. He is funny. God is he funny. His friends love him. Parents love him. His Daddy and I love him!!!. Somewhere in this crapshoot I am raising a pretty good kid. I am raising four pretty cool kids.
I wish I could have appreciated him more when he was young and not stress out so much about whether I was “raising” him right. Sometimes you just have to let them be and be as good as an example for them as you can. I see these young parents and I want to shake them. I want to tell them to enjoy this time. I want to tell them to get in the back yard and throw the ball, let them put makeup on you and pull all your shoes out of your closet. I want to tell them to take that money they are spending on private coaches and teach them themselves. But they won’t listen. Sometimes parenting is learning the hard way. We just have to buck it up and pray for the best. PRAY PRAY PRAY.
I know I got off kilter but you should be used to that by now:) The second example of building leadership in our youth is the LEAD program at the Jr High. My daughter Maitland was next in line to go and someone’s grades dropped so she got a spot. I had no idea what this was all about. I still don’t really know. All I know is a I saw a group of 8th and 9th graders work together to come up with a theme, a cheer, a dance and a float in four afternoons and compete with their peers. These kids aren’t BFFs. They don’t necessarily sit at the same lunch table, etc. But they put those differences aside, got rid of their prejudices and used their individual strengths together to come up with something cool. I am sorry that kid’s grades dropped but I am so grateful my daughter is getting to be a part of this program. I highly recommend you get your child to apply, keep their grades up and hopefully their name will be drawn from the hat (or they get on Spartan Council:)).
It is not up to our school system to raise our children. It is our job to build their character and groom them to be the best person they can be. But when they become school age and they are involved in after school activities, we are not around them as much as their teachers, coaches and scout leaders. That is what is so great about our community and school system. We can work together to raise great kids to become great people. Not all of our kids will be leaders. Some of the greatest people in the world are the “Indians”. Not everyone can be a chief.