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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Mothers (05/02/05)

TITLE: Standing on the Sidelines
By Rebecca Yauger
05/07/05


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As parents, our instinct is to protect our children from the hurts and pains of everyday life. But more often than not, you have to stand on the sidelines watching your child struggle, knowing the lessons they need to learn are more valuable than protecting them from the temporary hurt.
You watch a child fall time and again as he learns to walk. You see your child lose his balance and even scrape his knee as he masters riding a bicycle. You tell your son that he has to finish the baseball season and not quit even though he argues that heíll never get a hit and itís a waste of time. But as we know from experience, he learns to walk, ride a bike and hit the ball, also while learning determination, perseverance and commitment.
And now I watch one more time as my 20-year-old son is facing his first major heartbreak. He came home from college for a weekend visit recently, and announced that his girlfriend of four years broke up with him. He was terribly heartbroken and depressed. Mike and Tina had been inseparable for years, dating through high school and even choosing to attend the same college so they could stay close to each other. But Tina told him she needed to stand on her own two feet and find out who she was without him. While, personally, I think sheís being very smart and doing something Iíd advise my own daughter to do; my son, on the other hand, was blindsided by this and feels betrayed.
Watching his teary eyes, slumped shoulders and lack of appetite, made me ache for him. Unlike his scraped knee, I couldnít put a band-aid on his heart. But I believe he will learn important life lessons from this that will serve him well into adulthood.
He told us that he is going to quit dragging his feet on looking for a job. He vows to get more involved with school and making friends. Heíll do the same thing Tina is doing: trying to stand on his own two feet.
Iím on the sidelines again, doing my best to comfort him, although Iím not able to protect him from the hurt, and knowing I shouldnít even try. His heart will heal and grow stronger again and he will discover who he really is in this life. Then Iíll look forward to being with him on that day when he has his own child and heíll stand at the sidelines watching that child learn the lessons of life.
***


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Phyllis Inniss 05/09/05
Great piece of writing. Your comfort, love and understanding, with prayer, will see your son through his 'ordeal' as you stand 'on the sidelines'. Thanks for sharing.
Shirley Thomas05/09/05
I think being on the sidelines is the hardest part of parenting. Your story is well-written. Your son will be fine because he has you rooting for him. Blessings!