Play a Bigger Game

For the past decade I’ve been Dad. Serious job. Serious outcomes in my hands.

Recently I’ve had to play a bigger game. My ten year old’s Self is ever more on display and in the face of his Mom and I. Good and frustrating (not bad). In the process, I’ve realized I have holes in my game.

The young man is testing new limits all of the time. Good and frustrating (not bad).

He’s asking more questions. Floating bigger ideas. And in general punching through his cute little kid exterior. He’s becoming in many ways the person the world will see the majority of his future life. Good and frustrating (not bad).

I’m very proud. I look at him and what he’s doing, listening to what he says, and am very impressed by the hectic schedule he keeps. Of course I am also frustrated at him a lot.

Not bad, because I think when you have a child smarter than yourself and better in so many ways, frustration will set in for us adults to have to manage (notice the word manage — it’s the child’s job to push and the adult must manage their own response). And when you find yourself in this position, as most parents do, you have to say Thank You. What better gift than to have a child that could be better than yourself in every way. You have gifted to the world.

I wonder. How did this happen? There was no master plan laid out for him to act, play basketball, push and pull his way into leadership at his school, and seemingly have a desire to be a designer. And, be good at all of those things; or at least have a chance to develop into being good.

I have to play a bigger game. Step up Dad. Don’t just get out of his way. Play an active role in helping him get where he wants to go. That’s the mission. The job.

Like some, when I’m frustrated, the urge is to let something less than positive take hold. When I don’t understand something, I can work to dismiss it. That reaction in parenting can have dire outcomes. I can easily suppress him. Stunt his curiosity. Hinder his innate willingness to go into a situation he’s not familiar with, and make things happen.

So I just have to play outside of myself. And what I gift this boy has given me. The gift of the push. The gift to have to get better without the luxury of preparation.

A frustrating situation at times. But he’s not asking me if I’m ready. He’s telling me and showing me that I have to be ready.

What a gift. Thank you son.

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