Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Navigating the Busy Seasons of Life

October has been an incredibly busy month for the Posey Household. This month, we have navigated through our normal routines as well as additional activities for the entire family. There have been weeks that we had something every night of the week. Every weekend has been full of activities. Add on to that unexpected health problems for a couple of family members and it has been quite a month. Overall, it has been a great month. There are several things that I learned during this time that I want to pass on.

1. Enjoy the moment! Many of our activities have centered around our kids ball games or school activities. There were times I reminded myself or had a older person remind me that these days are not forever and to cherish these moments. They will not be playing ball or cheering forever. I want to do my best to enjoy these moments while they last.

2. Guard your time off! There were times when we did have a night off or a cancellation gave us an unexpected night off. It is important to take time to rest and relax. In these times, choose not to fill up the calendar with other things. Bottom line: It is ok to say no.

3. Eat together as much as possible! In busy seasons, it is so easy to run through the drive thru or have everyone eat at their convenience. Fortunately, for our family, those night were relatively few. Sasha made sure we had a meal in the crock pot or something quick to prepare so we could all eat together. The family meal time is important because we are all around the table with minimal distractions (our TV is in the other room). This is a time we hear about each others days and can talk about what is coming up.

4. Don't neglect your time with God! When you are in a busy season, it is easy to let your devotional time go or make excuses why you can't go to church. When we do these things, we are showing our families that God is not as important as whatever activity or event we choose to place before him. Choose to make Him a priority during busy seasons.

What lessons have you learned navigating through a busy season in life?

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Why I'm So Geeked Out Over the New Star Wars Movie

I remember the first time I saw Star Wars. I had spent the night with a friend of mine that lived in the Mobile Home park next to our house. His family had this crazy new technology called Cable Television and a new channel called HBO (Home Box Office). I remember watching intently this incredible movie of good vs. evil. From then on, every stick was a light saber or a laser gun. If only I had the collection of Star Wars Action Figures, Vehicles and Playsets that I owned, I probably could retire. (Maybe not, but I wish I still had my Millennium Falcon...they are turning those things into sweet bass guitars...but I digress.)

My Dad took me to the old Oaklawn theater to see "The Empire Strikes Back" when it came out. If I wasn't already, I was hooked. Now, fast forward 35 years, and there is a new movie, "The Force Awakens," coming out in December. Last night, I set my DVR to record a meaningless (to me anyway) Monday Night Football game just so I wouldn't miss the trailer for the new movie. After the trailer premiered, I got online and ordered my tickets for opening night.

Why is a 42 year old man so geeked out about a science fiction movie?

1. Nostalgia - it takes me back to a more innocent time and place. It reminds me of the good times of my childhood. I loved the original trilogy...yes, even the ewoks. There are probably some that wish the franchise would not be revived. They don't want anything to change. Nostalgia should help us appreciate the past, but it never should be at a detriment to the future.

2. The Moral of the Story - Good vs. Evil is a classic tale. The Jedi vs. the Dark Side. The Rebel Alliance against the Empire. What makes Star Wars special is that the Dark Side was redeemed. (Spoiler Alert for those who haven't seen Return of the Jedi) When Darth Vader turns on the emperor to save Luke, it proved there was good in him.

3. Passing it on to the next Generation - I am taking Mady with me. We will watch all 6 original Star Wars movies before opening night. She may not like it. I hope she does. However, I want to make a memory with her. She may not remember a thing about the movies and may never care about them, but she will long remember the night I took her to see the Opening Night of "The Force Awakens." I'm thankful my Dad took me to see the movie because of the memory. Whether it is a movie or activity, it is important for us to make memories with our kids.

4. Unanswered Questions - Anytime a movie ends, there are always unanswered questions. While Return of the Jedi left fans with a positive ending, it did leave me wanting to know what the future held for Luke, Leia, Han, Chewie, C-P3O, R2-D2, etc. I'm excited to see the answers to those questions.

5. Technology - The original films were made with the limited, but innovative technology of their time. I am interested to see what can be done with the technology of today. If the trailers are any indicator, we won't be disappointed.

There are some that may read this because it said Star Wars. There are others than could care less about the movie and only are reading it because they follow this blog. Whether you are a fan or not, I want to pose a few questions to you. What is it that reminds you of a simpler time? What are you doing to make memories and share special moments with your kids? When our action figures have been sold in a garage sale or to a buddy (still regret that) and we grow old, the one thing that we will have are those special moments and the memories we make.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Etiquette Lessons from a Cheerleading/Softball/Volleyball Dad

This has been a blog I have wanted to write for a long time. My girls have been involved in youth sports since my oldest stepped onto a soccer field at the age of 4. I coached her first team without a bit of history in the sport other than the soccer ball I owned when I was 8. Over the years, I have helped coached other teams, been a helper or just a dad in the stands. We have been on some great teams and on some teams that were at the bottom of the standings. We have been blessed with great coaches and some that were more like I was when I coached my first team.  I like to observe people and I have seen some crazy things happen at ball fields and stadiums. So, for everyone who has kids, grand kids, nieces/nephews or friends or just likes to hang out at the ball fields because there's nothing better to do on a Tuesday night, here are the etiquette lessons I've learned from being a part of youth sports.

1. Remember, they are just kids. Not only are they kids, but they are kids who are playing a game because they want to do something fun. This is not the 9th Inning of the World Series or the final two minutes of the Super Bowl. This is a Volleyball game on a Monday afternoon at 4:00 pm in the alternate gymnasium. This is a Softball game on a dusty field on a Thursday Night. They are just kids having fun. They forget the losses and the wins more quickly than we do.

2. Don't try and relive your glory days through your kids. That's easy for me. I had relatively few bright spots in my athletic career. For others, it is not. They shined and were very successful under the Friday Night Lights or a packed out arena. Your kids are there to have fun. They may far exceed your athletic prowess or they may never measure up. Be there for them and enjoy the moment.

3. Remember, it is just a game. This one is not as easy for me. I am an ultra-competitive person. If there is a winner or loser, I want to win. If I'm playing a game of Monopoly or watching my favorite team play, I want to win. In my mind, the game is the most important thing happening at that moment. It needs to be called fairly and everyone playing to perfection. My greatest regrets coaching sports or being a fan at my daughter's games have been the times I let my competitive drive get the best of me. It usually manifests itself when the game official or umpires make an obvious bad call in a tight game. This point probably would be better written by my wife who reminds me that it is just a game. There is no reason to lose your cool over a missed call by an amateur referee.

4. Be more encouraging than correcting. In Youth Sports, we are dealing with kids who are still learning the basics of the game. They need instruction, but they need more encouragement. Whether you are a fan or coach, encourage twice as much as you instruct. As they mature in their sport, they will need different types of instruction. I would instruct a top High School player differently than a 6 year old who is picking up a bat for the first time. Kids, especially younger kids, need to know that you believe in them. When coaching kids, I opt for the sandwich method by encouraging them, correcting them and then encouraging them. For example, "You fielded the ball great. Next time, watch where you are throwing the ball. Your eyes were looking in the stands when you released the ball. That's why the ball went wide. You can do it! You'll get them next time."

5. Let the coaches coach. There is nothing worse for a coach than a parent trying to coach their kids from the stands. As parents, we are the key influencer in our child's life. Of course, they are going to have their eyes on us when we are yelling instructions to them. The problem is it distracts from what the coach is trying to do. They are thinking of the whole team. Over the years, I have seen multiple coaches try and get the attention of a player who is zoned in on their mom or dad. We all want our kids to be successful. If you desire to help them, spend some time with them in the backyard playing catch. When it comes game time, let the coaches do their job.

6. Don't publicly criticize the coach. You never know who is sitting around you. Remember, the coach may have family (including kids) who are sitting near you. Before kids get to middle school, the coaches are mostly volunteer. The only thing I have ever received as compensation for coaching is a free t-shirt. They are doing it for the love of the game and the love of their kids. If you disagree with the coach on something, talk to him or her in a private setting. I would also suggest not going to them right after the game. Call them up during the week.

7. Never criticize someone else's child. They are kids who are learning the game. They will make mistakes. If you want to pay $150 to buy a ticket to see the Cowboys play, then criticize the players who are making millions. If you are sitting in the bleachers watching 7 years olds play, then don't ever criticize them. They are kids. They are playing to be with their friends and to have fun. Definitely, don't yell at someone else's child. You are not their coach. If you want to coach, then pick up the application for the next season. Otherwise, cheer and encourage. We never know what some of these kids may be dealing with at home and the last thing they need is a random grumpy adult yelling at them or criticizing them because their serve flew into the stands or they weren't in sync with the other cheerleaders.

As parents, coaches and fans, our attitudes and actions can affect our kids and their teams. It is important to remember we are teaching them life lessons by the way we act and react in youth sports. Those lessons will far out last their ability to play the game they love.