Zacharie playing soccer

They say children are your soul running around the world outside of your body.

It’s true. Just watch your kids run around for a few minutes and you’ll see your soul, you’ll see your true self, you’ll see what you really are.

Your children are your soul, little pieces of your true self that you expose to the world. They take what the world offers them, what you offer them, and then mix it up. Sometimes they amaze you at how unique they are – how they have remixed their surroundings to achieve greatness beyond anything you thought possible.

And then there are times when watching your kids in the world is like looking in a mirror. If you’re not totally self-aware, that realization can be pretty stunning. Check that, even if you are self-aware, to see your children be you in the real world is a shocking look in the mirror.

Zacharie joined a new soccer team in the fall. They were getting creamed in their first game. Goal after goal, constant pressure, it was relentless. It was supposed to be a fun 3-on-3 indoor soccer league where score wasn’t kept. It was to be focussed on having fun and just getting the kids to run and play for an hour. But while score wasn’t kept on a board, it was kept by the kids on the court. It was easily 16-3 when I started to see Zacharie’s temper rise.

He had scored 2 of his team’s 3 goals and he was frustrated. He started barking orders at his teammates from the sideline. He started playing harder, charging down the opposition and getting physical. He cried.

He was just like me.

A few years ago I set a Guinness World Record by playing 61 hours of Netball. It was a fun game, a charity game, we were keeping score, but there was nothing on the line. We were playing to get a record and raise money for Right to Play. We may have been ‘two teams’ but we were all on the same team.

Except the other team was good. They had some players that truly understood the game and, instead of dumbing down the game to the level of the rookies that were out there putting in the hours to get the record, they ran circles around us. One girl guarded me aggressively and hard. Another player continued to take every shot and never missed.

After 40 or 50 hours of it, I couldn’t take it anymore. I charged the other team hard, trying to show them how ridiculously intense their play was. I guarded in their face, I threw a ball directly at an opposing player screaming at him to calm down and stop playing so hard. It was supposed to be fun, I wasn’t having any and it was too much.

I was so embarrassed. And now, watching my son from the sidelines I felt the sting of embarrassment again.

Here was my son, frustrated in what was supposed to be a fun and relaxing game. He was over reacting and getting angry and barking at players – like father, like son.

Like Father, Like Son

Your kids are a piece of your soul running around the world. What you show them is what they know. If you don’t fully appreciate it, don’t worry, your kids will become a mirror and show you exactly what you need to know. If you’re willing to pay attention.

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