Monday, May 14, 2012

Finding Their Own Band-Aids

Yesterday, Matan came home very upset. It is rare to see him close to tears, and I couldn't imagine what had happened. Apparently, some type of sports team was put together at the school, and he wasn't chosen by the coach to be part of the team. He methodically went through the list of kids with me, explaining which kids were better than he is, and which are not (Matan had been selected MVP of the basketball tournament held over Pesach break, so he knew the kids and their abilities well and he was bewildered about why he hadn't been included).

And he held back tears.

Seeing your child in pain has got to be one of the hardest things that we do as parents. It makes me want to leap up, find a huge band-aid, and immediately begin the patching process.

However, sometimes we just can't do that. And sometimes they have to find the band-aid for themselves.

I was tempted to call the school. To talk to the coach. To get to the bottom of this.

And then I remembered that Matan is 12 and that he has to learn to fight his own battles - and that he has to learn to respect the decisions of others even if he doesn't love them.

So, I had an idea. I told Matan that he could try to fix the situation, but only if he handled it correctly. Should he come to the coach angry, saying that he should have been on the team and that it wasn't fair, he wouldn't be listened to.

I told him that, should he desire to do so, he could approach the coach calmly. He could explain that he was very disappointed that he hadn't been selected and that he would appreciate it if the coach could reconsider. He might explain his athletic abilities and explain why he would be able to contribute well to the team.

I wasn't sure that he would take on the challenge, but I explained that it was his, and his alone, to take on.

Today, Matan came home BEAMING! He spoke to the coach, and he was allowed to join the team.

Wow.

I was elated.

I wasn't elated, per se, that he had been selected after-the-fact for the team. Rather, I was so proud of him for taking the initiative. Even if the coach had told him that he couldn't join, Matan would have learned a great lesson.

I was proud of myself, as well, for stepping back and for realizing that my children have to find their own band-aids, one fix and one experience at a time.

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