When I committed to learning visibly before my children, I really didn’t expect the Lord to lay quite this big of a challenge in front of me.
The first Upward Sports ministry of Monticello, AR, is getting off the ground this week with a basketball league. And I have been asked to be a coach.
When I checked the little box that said I’d be willing to coach, I meant that I’d be willing to help. You see, I really don’t like teaching children other than my own. Give me youth or college girls or a group of women. Give me administrative tasks, and even parents to interact with. But, please don’t give me other people’s children!
But, that’s not even the worst of it. I’ve handled children before and we’ve all lived to tell the tale – many times happily. So, no, having to work with children is far from the worst part. The worst of it is that I know nothing about basketball. Okay, I take that back. I know enough to know which team has the ball, and I can keep up with the score. But, I know very little about the court, the rules, the players, or anything else. It’s not that I don’t enjoy basketball. I had fun going to games when I was in college, and I enjoy keeping up with the Razorbacks once football season is over. But, I really and truly know nothing about the structure of the game.
And yet, here I am – the coach of a KG-1stgrade coed team.
I would be lying if I said I was excited about this challenge. On the contrary, I have been in tears of frustration about it. But, the Lord has reminded me of Philippians 4:4-7 and challenged me to rejoice and be thankful as I seek His help.
As I asked the Lord to show me ways to be thankful in this, He helped me realize what an awesome learning situation this truly is. It’s one thing to teach something that I know well to someone else. It’s quite another thing to teach something as I’m learning it. It’s fresh. It’s new. And I am fully aware of how difficult it is to learn.
I have the added blessing of being very uncoordinated. I have never been an athletic person. In fact, my father used to tease me by telling me that coordination strikes every ten seconds – and someday it would strike me! Now and then I am struck by the lightening of coordination, but it is definitely not something that comes naturally.
For all of my knowledge of basketball and coordination, I might as well be one of those five and six year olds, freshly learning the game.
Each week I’m going to be just ahead of those little ones. Every Monday night I will see my own struggles to learn a new concept mirrored in these children. My prayer is that the image will help me have insight into ways to teach these concepts. My prayer is that the image will give me patience as I teach these concepts. And, my prayer is that the image will allow me to connect with these children in ways I could never do were I trying to teach them from within my comfort zone.
I’m still not thrilled about the whole situation. I’m still concerned about my ability to coach a game in two weeks, much less two practices between now and then. But, the Lord is showing me very clearly that visible learning sometimes means showing my children that I am willing to learn something that is completely outside my comfort zone in order to accomplish a task He has set before me. And, I pray that they take that lesson with them with a willingness to accept their own challenging learning experiences.