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It worked!  I got Mom on my side, psyched Mark up, and he had a great practice!

The other kids did pass him the ball, he had more fun, and his team won the scrimmage.  (Mark is a very sore loser, so if his team lost last week, that may have had a lot to do with his feelings.)

I am honestly so relieved.  I don’t think I could’ve handled haranguing/pushing him into another practice.

Sometimes you try, and no matter what you do, it isn’t right.

We were able to sneak Junior in on a soccer team despite signing up a few months late.  But the team for Mark’s grade was full.  He seemed really disappointed so I promised I’d keep looking for something else that might work.

I found something perfect on a flyer in the park!  The city was sponsoring a flag football learning league – no games, just five weeks of learning how to play.  Low stress, not a long time commitment, not too expensive, and Mark was excited to do it.

The first practice was last week.  His mom and dad came, he really seemed to be having a good time during the practice, and I thought I’d found a winner.

This afternoon is the second practice, and he says he hates it and he wants to quit.

(giant, drawn out, loud exasperated sigh)

It doesn’t help that he mentioned disliking it while I was driving yesterday, and in my half-distracted state, I just said “Well, you don’t have to keep playing if you don’t like it.”  Obviously, I didn’t expect him to whole-heartedly agree.  So I started backpedaling right away, said we’d need to talk to his mom and dad about it, and continued that even more today.

In fact, I told him today he would just need to keep trying.  I am refusing to allow him to quit after just one practice.  He has complained about the other kids not passing him the ball, one kid in particular he doesn’t like for some reason, it’s too hard and he just hates it.  LOTS of reasons.  I think I’ve pretty successfully refuted each of his reasons, but above and beyond his actual reasons for wanting to stop, I want him to view quitting as a last resort.  I’ve even pulled out the “Quitters never win…” cliché.

He is less crabby about going to the next practice now, but just barely.  He also seems to think if his mom says it’s okay, he can quit, and I think on the phone last night she might have told him it was okay.  So I still need to talk to her about this.

And I’m not the best at asserting myself, but I think if I phrase it as “I want to help him learn how to stick with something to the end” and point out to her that if he is allowed to quit now, he will start to expect to be able to quit teams and hobbies after she’s paid for it, I’ll have her support.

It’s funny too, because it would honestly be a lot easier for me if he did just quit.  And even though I don’t actually care about it, I know I should be looking out for Mark’s long-term development, like in a greater good of the world sense.  So I’ll just keep pushing him.  Maybe fruitlessly, maybe not.  I’ll never know.