Monday, August 15, 2016

Wise Words from My Favorite West Virginian

There was a phrase my dad would use when he noticed a person was feeling rather haughty and too pleased with his or her self. And while he didn't coin the expression, it sure left an impression on me to this day.

When I first heard him say it I thought it was soooooooo funny because, he used the word "poop" and I would giggle loudly. As I got a little older I thought it was an odd saying since I took it literally. Then, when he'd utter it when I was a tween I was just embarrassed by the quote, mostly because I didn't fully understand it, but also because it did sound oddly gross. (Who tries to smell their own poop, after all?!?) Over the years though, and especially now that I'm a mama, I totally get it.

This summer before my son's first ever "real" tennis match, I saw he was pretty nervous. I told him not to be since he was really supposed to lose anyway. A nearby parent spoke to me when my son was playing and asked me why I told him he'd likely lose. I said that it was because he was younger and less experienced than his opponent. But also because while I am my children's #1 fan, they are not always going to be number #1. Even after my explanation, she still didn't seem to approve of my parenting style.

We live in a time where our kids can buy The gear, go to The camp, and get The coach if they're parents are willing to pay the money. Many of those young athletes think they are The best. To me, that's not how it works, and I don't want my children thinking that way.

Don't get me wrong. I do want my kids to be "winners," and I think they are both incredibly wonderful. I remind them they can be whatever they want to be, but I also want them to be good "losers" too, with a realistic approach to life. Because they WILL lose sometimes. They will even work hard at a goal and still not reach it on the first or second or twenty-second try. That's life sometimes. And I want them to learn to be gracious, good sports on the court and off--and way beyond the playing field.

As I further reflect on my dad's famous phrase, I'm starting to suspect that God added the stink from the beginning so that we all got the hint, even our adoring parents, that even though most of us come into this world with ten tiny toes and a smile that melts many hearts, shortly after we share a big stink-bomb in our baby britches as a sign that we are not perfect. (But yes, still "fearfully and wonderfully made.")

So to my two amazing (but not perfect), growing children, as your good ol' Pop taught me, your poop does stink...and don't worry, that's just how it's supposed to be.