Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mother as the Coach

Mother and Child in an Interior, 1898

Ray Charles went blind when he was 5 years old. His mother was a devout Christian. They lived in a poor community and she had to train him for life. Did she know she was going to die when he was 15? Probably not. But she knew she had to help him to live in a difficult world.

I remember watching his life story on television. I remember seeing this small, precious boy calling for his mother. He had recently gone blind. He needed help. I remember seeing that wise woman standing off in a corner watching him. She just watched. That boy called and called and it broke her heart. She wouldn't answer because she was teaching him.  Thinking he was alone,  he started to listen to the sounds around him. He started to reach out and see where he was walking. He started to actually live blind.  His mother had tears on her cheeks.  He was learning.

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A Coach is someone who trains the team. He trains the players to succeed and to win. A Mother is a coach in her own home. She teaches her children how to get along, how to form a family team, and how to survive out in the real world.

1. Sibling Rivalry.

The coach wants the team to be a family. They need to have each other's backs. There has to be compassion and caring and kindness. No one is closer than a brother.  No one will sacrifice more for a brother. A brother will work despite pain, for the benefit of a suffering teammate. Yes, all children argue. Yes, they have their moments of feeling left out or that someone else is the favorite; but when trials come, when the games (in life) are being played, and the storms are brewing, the team pulls together and forms a bond which is not easily broken.  As for my own children, they have given up hard earned cash to help each other. They have willingly worked to pay for a designer coat, or a snack or a special birthday gift to cheer the other.  When times are hard, each one will give anything to take care of the other.   They are the teammates in the White House who were coached by Mother.

2. Work Ethic.

I required all my children to work hard. Each one had a job. I encouraged them to move fast and get the job done. When all the children were young, this was easier because they would compete with one another. They would see who could run faster, who could lift more grocery bags and who could have the cleanest room. (They did this on their own, to make the work fun.) But my youngest had it harder. I had to train him without the benefit of co-laborers. I would have him open doors for me (learn to be a gentleman), even while he was holding grocery bags. I would have him bring all the heavy shopping bags into the house - alone.  He did not understand this, but my praises and my kindness made him realize I was teaching him how to work.  All my children have a tremendous work ethic.

3. On the Field.

I have taught my children morals and values. I have advised them through some difficult times. But they don't always listen to me. Children will not always listen to their coach. But, know this, when they get out on the field, and they try it their own way - the players and the crowds (the world) will teach them. Your student may come back harmed, limping and sore. But he will understand your lessons.

4. Resenting the Coach.

Often the coach must be stern. The coach must carefully push the players to a point where their accomplishments exceed their own dreams. We Mothers don't want our children lazing around the house, being pampered by us. We don't want them to slack or get away with living an unproductive life. So we provide training opportunities. We provide work and see that it is carried out. In the beginning, the team will grumble and gripe, but as they rise and succeed, they appreciate and love their coach. They see that it was not all in vain. Many have come back to say, "Coach, thank you for making me work. Thank you for putting up with me and standing beside me all these years and never giving up on me."

The retired years of a Mother coach are the most precious of all. She sees the fruit of her labors. She sees those children coming back from the battlefield (life) with war stories and victories! She sees them as productive citizens who have learned life lessons. Her hair is white from age. Her vision is fading. But her team loves and respects her with great admiration.

Mrs. White

Living History - Homemaking Links the Generations.

Victory when we are overworked - The Homemaker's Despair.

Serious Advice - How a Godly Mother may Guide an Imperfect Family.

An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email.



Rachel @ Finding Joy said...

Wonderful post. I really appreciate the part about the team having to work together as that is what I've been trying to emphasize to my kids lately.

I've shown this demo to my kids -- I'll have one stand and see if they can stand without me moving them. It's pretty easy to move one. Then I'll have another one come and link arms -- not as easy. By the time they're all together, with arms linked, I cannot move them. It's a powerful analogy about working together and unity.

Thank you again, for a lovely post.


Unknown said...

Beautiful post. So much wisdom can be found in these special moms. I'm so amazed at mothers in difficult situations and how they handle life so well. Such inspiration.

Celee said...

Loved this! As their coach I help my kids set goals and work towards accomplishing them. It absolutely takes hard work and discipline. It's tough going, but I'm already starting to see the fruit in my older kids. It is a race, like Paul says, and we do have to run it with endurance.

Thanks for following. I think I've been following you for a couple of years : ).


Catherine said...

I love this post so much! Thank you!

Liz said...

Thank you for the post. I am just in the beginning phases of "coaching" and I am blessed every day. It's nice to hear from a seasoned veteran. :)

Unknown said...

I've never looked at things this way but it is so true, thanks for the post!