during track season, our family spends a lot of hours in the hot sun, our littles do a lot of playing in the infield, or the outfield, and we have late nights and fast dinners. but we love it, because watching our kids push themselves teaches us all much. here are a few lessons i’ve learned while watching my children compete:
listen first to your head coach.
lots of well-meaning people have advice for you, and sometimes it’s good advice. but in the moment, when it really matters, too many voices make for confusion and frustration. do your homework, listen to wisdom when it comes, but first and foremost, listen to what Coach has to say. (and in life, others have wisdom to offer, but if it doesn’t line up with the Word and with the Words of your Papa, toss it out and listen to Him first.)
tune out the rest of the world; focus on the task at hand.
the track can be a noisy place. cheering and announcing and other events don’t stop while you get your breath and get ready to run, or to jump, or to throw. you have to find your own head-space and get in it, planning your attack and going for your next best. (i’ve got five home-schooled kids, for goodness sake, and run a business from home. i want it to all stop so i can have some silence, but sometimes, i’ve gotta find quiet in my own head and make the rest happen.)
size doesn’t matter; God uses the weak to confound the strong.
many races, a-girl or her friend coop were the smallest, or the youngest, on the track. the competition must have felt huge to them, but their age nor their height mattered when it came to times or heights or distances. they beat (or didn’t) their competitors based on training, on hard work, and on pure heart. (david and goliath, anyone? Papa seems to delight in showing off by gifting those the world deems “less” to make much more of their lives, to conquer, and to give Him glory. when i feel weak, He is strong!)
you can fly!
she had a gut feeling when no one her age on the team was trying it, and she begged permission to vault. her gut was right, but it took blisters and bumps, run after run, and overcoming the fear of a new height, each time she went up. but the feeling, she says, of flying, is worth every drop of sweat. (thank God for the times He allows us to soar, because it makes the tromp through the valley and the scrambling up the cliffs bearable. and the view from the clouds is worth every step.)
know your true enemy.
sometimes, my girl would be intimidated by the competition. i remember one race, early on in the season, she spied a girl who would battle her hurdle-for-hurdle in every race, and i said, “go talk to her.” there’s a cool dynamic in track and field where your “enemy” is also the gift that spurs you to run faster, harder. that conversation began a friendly rivalry that lasted all season, and pushed each girl to top her own times.
and a-girl soon learned that it was her own head, her own heart, she had to conquer, more than the person beside her. she had to overcome her own fear or pain or frustration or just plain exhaustion, in order to shave her time a millisecond faster. and a bonus lesson: a millisecond, or three steps, may matter. she’s toe-to-toe with her every-race-competitor here, and it was the last three steps to the line that made the finish.
when life gets really hard, get a hug from your Daddy.
there’s always a top height in a meet. and there’s always your max for any given event. and for her, it’s never enough. it’s that drive that pushes her to grow, and it’s changing things in my own heart, giving me courage to try what i didn’t think i could do. but when it ends, and it doesn’t end where you want it to, it hurts. i’m so thankful my Papa is ready, every time, for me to run to His arms and crawl in and beg Him to make it feel better. because when He does, i’m ready for the next race. i’m ready to feel how He wants me to fly, and to tell everyone around me how He helped me get there.
how are your children teaching you, daring you to become stronger? to live life more fully? share below?