Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Life Lessons or My Longest, My Most Serious Post Ever

"In the world, but not of the world." It's a notion that I've heard my whole life, have never really understood until becoming a parent.

As my kids have gotten older, I've grown more and more concerned with the world they're growing up in. It seems like filth and negative influences surround them on every side and even worse, somehow this filth is now getting passed off as acceptable by most of society.

As parents, we try to fortify our children with love, spiritual and intellectual knowledge, and most importantly an understanding of God's plan for His children, but ultimately we know that how they choose to live their lives is up to them. Force just isn't a part of God's plan.

Dang! I wish this letting them choose wasn't such a painful process. Who wants to see their own child make a stupid, preventable mistake? Yet somehow I forget that my own painful experiences eventually became times of great growth and understanding in my life, in fact I consider them very much a formative part of who I am today.

I don't get serious too often here on the blog, so allow me to continue on with my non-sarcasm and take a different, but related tangent...

The Sabbath day. The Bible says, "Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee." It seems like such a simple concept to dedicate one day out of seven to the Lord, but it's also something that is increasingly more difficult to do.

Glen works crazy hours and has limited time at home and it's really hard to not fill Sundays with all the things we didn't have time to do on Saturday. Sometimes the lawn just doesn't get mowed.

The kids just know to look at the calendar as soon as they receive a birthday party invitation. If it's on Sunday they usually passively mention to me, "Mom, Lincoln's having a party, but it's on Sunday so I told him I can't go." They're disappointed, but they know what the right thing is.

Glen and I were both athletes in high school and have loved watching our kids grow stronger and fitter as they've participated in their own sports. When the kids were younger we never had to worry about Sunday games, but now that Spencer's older it is getting more and more competitive and we've started to run into issues.

You may remember last fall when Glen petitioned the league commissioner of football to change some of Spencer's Sunday games to Saturday. Ultimately through Glen's persistence and a little miracle (if you ask us) two of his games were switched to Saturday, which meant that he only had to miss two of his games instead of four.

So this winter we were faced with the same dilemma. Spencer's favorite sport has always been basketball and we were so discouraged to learn that the city league he's always played with holds all of their 8th grade games on Sunday. Basically he and several of his friends decided to take the year off of basketball and resume it again next year in high school, rather than lower their standards about the Sabbath day.

We were proud of Spencer's decision and committment to keeping the Sabbath day holy, but we were also sad that he had to make that sacrifice. When we learned that neighboring city league still held their 8th grade games on Saturdays we thought we might give it a try. Unfortunately they didn't have enough players or coaches yet to form a whole league.

Enter Coach Glen (who had never coached any sport before) who immediately recruited 3 other guys who were taking the year off for the same reason as Spence.

With Glen, his assistant coach and four of the seven kids being LDS, we thought about calling the team, the "Stormin' Mormons", but we weren't so sure what those three 'other guys' would think about that. :) The boys were happy enough just to be able to play basketball. With a rather humble start of the season losing their first two games, the team has gotten stronger and stronger through out the season. The team had a stirring come-from-behind triumph in the leagues' semi-finals against an opponent the team had lost to twice during the regular season. Our own Spencer led the way in the come back knocking down five 4th quarter 3 pointers and scoring a total of seventeen 4th quarter points to help the team earn a spot in the league championship. Now, with a record of 6-4 and a place in the championship game this Saturday, I'd say the kids have held their own pretty well.

It has been very inspiring for us to see the boys work so hard and play with such determination, all the while standing up for what they know is right. Not too shabby for a bunch of 13 year old boys trying their best to be in the world, but not of it.

{If you've actually made it this far into my cathartic novel, then congratulations. Don't worry I should be back to my normal goofiness levels tomorrow.}

11 comments:

K said...

That's pretty awesome that they've worked so hard to keep the sabbath day holy! Congrats to the team! Good luck at the championship game!

alexandra said...

From another mother who has a hard time being serious on her blog, job well done!

And congrats to the boys. It takes more of them standing up (or standing out) for people to take notice that people will hold true to their convictions, even if it causes them to miss out on some fun stuff here and there.

Denise said...

Good for Spencer. I find it an interesting thing that when we make these type of decisions, we are not only faced with what the "world" thinks, but even with other parents who are LDS...who choose something else.

Thanks for being such a good example.

Melyssa said...

What a wonderful post. And, what a great reminder to us all about having the courage to do what is right. Yay, Spencer!

Steve said...

Congrats Spencer! It is such a joy to see the next generations making the correct choices. Better choices than we made as parents.

Pete and I faced the same dilemma almost 20 years ago-when he was chosen to play for the Anoka Traveling (Elite) team-which was actually sponsored and followed by the high school coaches.

Unfortunately they often played tournaments all over the state where the finals would be on a Sunday afternoon. It was such a wonderful opportunity for Pete, but also a tremendous moral dilemma

Such a dilemma that we approached our respected Stake President for counsel. He noted that he and his All-State son Michael had faced the same conundrum some years prior and had chosen to play

President C noted that he was serving as bishop at the time, as well as Michael's coach. After much consideration and prayer, they had chosen to play and coach.
And we made the ill-fated decision to allow Pete to play. It would have probably been much wiser and a much better example had we chosen Spencer and Glen's correct decision. We probably should have been more courageous.

Great job Spence (and Glen)!

The Busby Family said...

Wow, that is really neat! Good job Spencer!

Charlene said...

What a great example to share. Thanks for sharing. We are starting to run into that same problem. Weekend camp trips and scout camps end or begin on a Sunday. We are struggling to figure out what to do. thanks for reminder!

Annette said...

Thanks for being such a great example. I appreciate the struggle it is to live the gospel, keep your covenants and honor the priesthood. Of all the many challenges families face, good job on stepping up and choosing the right. Spencer will be a better missionary and priesthood holder because of wise choices he makes with his parents.

So, is Glen going to keep coaching?? Five 3-pointers in the 4th quarter - impressive! Good luck in the championship game.

Deon said...

Wonderful - thank you for your examples and for sharing it.

Andie said...

I love your cathartic novel!

Maybe Halestorm or somebody will pick up your basketball story and make a movie out of it...something like a Mormon "Miracle", starring Glen instead of Kurt Russell?!?! Great story.

Mirien said...

Good post. I regret a little that our children don't have to stand up for their beliefs more often like we did growing up (me in Indiana and Brian in Colorado). That's one thing we don't face raising our kids in Utah. (Something we never thought we'd be doing, by the way, but all attempt to leave the state have been thwarted.) Our issue is with the soccer games held on General Conference Saturdays. Do we go? Brian is Grant's coach. Should he forfeit (and upset the other LDS parents)? Evan says, "just bring the radio and listen, Dad." But we're trying to teach our children that when the prophet speaks, you drop everything and listen. And taking a stance that differs from other LDS friends and neighbors can be hard in a different way.