There was a commercial back in the ‘90s with a catchy tune, which sang, “give me a break, give me break; break me off a piece of that….” Do you remember it? Of course you do! “Break me off a piece of that KitKat bar!” From a brief Internet search, I learned the KitKat was originally launched in London in 1935. Who knew KitKats had been around so long? When I think of KitKats, I think of my Grandma Cochrane, my Dad’s mom, who always kept a stash of them in the crisper of her fridge. I think I ate enough of them as a kid to last my lifetime.
These memories came back to me after a discussion with my oldest son. Jaron has had a desire to play football since he was little. His Dad and I agreed 3rd grade would be more of an ideal age to begin playing. Well, when 3rd grade arrived, Jaron had been invited to join a soccer team. I may have played that up a bit much since I was still concerned about his size and him signing up for a high impact sport. While I gave it my best efforts to guide him toward soccer, his Dad was respectably neutral and we left the decision up to Jaron. He chose to play another year of soccer. Then 4th grade rolled around and we completely missed the sign-ups. We tried our best to get him on a team, but it didn’t happen. To further complicate the situation, we barely got him back in soccer. Needless to say, it was a monumental parent fail. But he was so gracious and understanding.
By the spring of this year we were signed up for football! Well, Jaron was signed up, and incredibly excited! July arrived and he got his pads and helmet, the excitement escalating. And then practices started! Wow! This was official now. No more throwing the football around at recess. This was the real deal.
Jaron was placed in a variety of positions to determine where he’d best suit the team. One thing, they decided he was a good punter. Seems all those seasons of soccer was a benefit in that area. But they also had him playing tight end and quarterback.
Now. Let me take a brief moment and state a disclaimer. I don’t know much about sports. My Dad didn’t play….at all. I mean my Dad didn’t have any hobbies. He truly was a workaholic. He didn’t hunt, fish, golf, nothing. Therefore, my encounters with sports have been very limited until my son. I try to keep somewhat close to my husband at the games to ask questions, since I don’t fully know what’s going on. Making goals and touchdowns I understand, but the technicalities, rules and positions, I need a little help with. But I am learning. I enjoyed soccer more with every passing season. Baseball has been a lot of fun too. Hearing the sound of the bat sending the ball across the field is exhilarating. Basketball is INTENSE! Man, now that’s a game that can change at the drop of a dime. So suspenseful, but I absolutely loved watching. Now here we are with football. There’s nothing more Oklahoman than football in the fall. We’re all so thrilled to be a part of it, even though some of us have a little more to learn than others; it’s equally as exciting.
The anticipation for the first scrimmage was high. Jaron had literally waited years to play. For a ten year old, that feels like a lifetime. He played his position as tight end, he fulfilled his role as punter and then he got put in as quarterback. The play started. Before any time, he was sacked. Then another play. Sacked again. Then another. Sacked.
When we got in the car we passed headphones out to the other three kids and put on a movie. I said, “Jaron, Dad is concerned about how you played, but I’m your Mom and I want to know how you feel.” I thought my heart was going to fall out of my chest when I heard his answer. My son who is always eager to learn, driven to succeed, striving to shine, answered in the most solemn tone, “Like I shouldn’t have signed up.” With much prompting to share his thoughts, he began to express how it was his fault the plays were incomplete. He felt entirely responsible for the defeat. He felt like a total failure. It was so discouraging listening to his perception that he shouldn’t have even tried.
You may be thinking, “Oh, poor guy.” But you do it to yourself too! We all do. It came together for me while listening to him speak. I had just done it the week before. My recertification for NRP didn’t go as smoothly as I would have liked. No worries. I’m recertified. But I had higher expectations for myself. I left with dreadful thoughts about my abilities as a neonatal nurse. It’s like if we don’t perform as a star then we aren’t good enough to participate. GIVE ME A BREAK! Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves?
My son neglected to remember he had an entire team on the field. He felt solely responsible for the results of the scrimmage. I overlooked the fact that four other people were participating in our mock code. I accepted feelings of inadequacy. And why? Did anyone imply those judgments? No. We did it to ourselves.
It’s good to desire improvement. My resolution to my internal frustration was purchase my own material, consistently study and make the information solid, like my favorite dish in which I no longer even need the recipe to make. That happens with constant interaction with the material. The same goes with anything in life. You study what you want to know, what you want to become. And we encouraged Jaron to do the same thing. Watch more football games. Study your plays. Ask the coach questions.
Again. It’s good to desire improvement, but stop beating yourself up. Give yourself a break. Give your all, and when it’s not enough, go back to the drawing board, regroup, come up with another plan or approach. But give yourself a break.
Even those considered “go getters” can get sacked so many times it causes them to feel like failures and therefore feel like giving up. I truly believe that the greatest, grandest and most meaningful plans the Lord has for our lives are going to come with maximum challenge and will require our utmost determination, strength and fortitude; found only in Him.
You see, when we confront our limitations, it doesn’t mean we can’t succeed; it means we identify the source to succeed. Give yourself a break! Put your reliance on the Source, the Creator of the goals and desires springing from your heart.
I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken. Psalm 62:1-2 NLT
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