Soccer is big in our house, as five of our six kids play high school and/or select club ball.  Our oldest is the amazing softball player (love ya, girl).

We’re blessed with healthy kids that work REALLY hard, but one year, one of them made the “second” team for his age group instead of the first team.  We were disappointed for a little bit because it’s human nature to think your child is better than they are.  But it turns out that season is probably the best thing that ever happened to his soccer development and more importantly, his understanding of how the world works.  There were a lot of moments of perspective to go around:

Disappointment can teach you to work harder – We said to him, “What you need to do is be the obvious leader we know you can be and make sure NO ONE works harder than you do.”

You never know who is watching – Unknown to any of us, the “first team” Coach was leaving the next season and the second team Coach was going to take over.  First Team Coach had been watching our son in the background and agreed 100% with second team Coach that he was ready for the “first team.”  That was a huge lesson in “be kind and respectful to everyone.”  Also known as the “Be careful who you flip off when you are driving” talk I gave our oldest because you never know who will come into your life and the world is small.

Complaining serves no purpose – This is almost more important for parents.  What good comes from complaining to the powers that be when you think your child has been screwed?  A) that teaches your child that the best option is to whine and B) is the coach you want them to play for going to want to deal with you OR your child?  This one amazes me.

There is ALWAYS something to learn – No one will ever know everything, which is a hard thing for offspring of a certain age to appreciate, but it’s a vital lesson to beat into their head for when they finally pull their head out of their wherever-it’s-been at around age 20.  At least that’s when it happened for me.  As soon as you think you know it all, A) people start to dislike you and B) you WILL be knocked down a notch or two.

Fortunately, kids all get paid the same amount – Zero.  You aren’t curing cancer or even figuring out all the cheat codes for Call of Duty Advanced Warfare.  In 20 years it won’t matter…