A soccer mom.
My five-year-old daughter joined a soccer team this fall, and we have had the fun of twice-a-week practices and Saturday games, and I've had the privilege of being on the sidelines cheering for my girl and remembering my childhood days of playing soccer and thinking I am becoming a little more like my mom everyday.
But along with the fun of soccer, we've also had the regularly-scheduled frustration of shin guards. Every practice, every game, it has been the same."
"I don't like them. They don't feel good."
And my response, like every good mom, has been, "Stop whining. I didn't like them either. Wear them anyway. And be ready in five minutes or you're not going."
After about five weeks of this, I did something new.
I listened. Why didn't my daughter like her shin guards? It was because these newfangled ones have a elastic strap-thingy that goes under a players foot, then the sock over that, then the shoe on top. Perfectly designed to keep a shin guard in place - and to completely annoy a sensitive little girl who hates to have bumps in her shoes.
So we went off to the sporting goods store, found an old-fashioned pair shin guards without the strap-thingy, and tried them on.
She loves them. "They feel wonderful!"
No more fights, no more lengthy "Get dressed or else" battles. No more tears. Peace. Smiles. Fun. Ahhhh.....
I'm all about training our children to obey their parents, and I know we have plenty of battles ahead. But I don't ever want parenting to turn into a power struggle instead of a relationship. The Battle of the Shin Guards reminded me never to stop listening to my daughter's voice, and that sometimes the stubborn heart that needs to give way is not hers, but mine.