“You are off the team!” I shouted through clenched teeth. That was the last thing I said before he walked out the door. Well, technically the last thing I said was “I love you” because you should never depart from a loved one without saying you love them. But right before that, “You are off the team!”, was what I said to my 12 year old son “Papi” as he raced out of the door 15 minutes late. Although he had gotten up on time, the flow of the morning routine came to a screeching halt when Papi remembered that he had an assignment that was due in class that morning. And although he had done the assignment, he had not printed it out yet nor did he know where his USB was located In order to print out the assignment. But the icing on the cake was that this was a Monday morning so he had all weekend to ensure that his work was printed and ready to go. But no, that’s not how that went down AT ALL.
As I stood there watching him trying to place blame on everyone else for why he would not have his work turned in, I could no longer contain my disappointment, and so it erupted in five words, “You-Are-Off-The-Team!”
And in that instant the look in his eyes told me that I had just ruined his entire world. My son, the self-declared future NBA player who eats, sleeps, breathes basketball was beyond through with me. But in the interest of time, I ushered him out of the house, told him I loved him and closed the door behind him.
And then I cried.
But only for a minute. You see, I didn’t want to pull him off the team but it had to be done. For 4 months I watched as Papi religiously practiced jump shots, lay-ups, and drills. I listened as he told me the stats on all the latest NBA players, and I swelled with pride as he suited up in uniform and walked onto the court, game after game, to do what I think he is amazing at doing. But for those same 4 months I also watched as he is presented sub-par homework to his teachers, I listened as he gave me excuse after excuse as to why he accidentally left in his homework assignment in his school locker, and I hung my head in disappointment as his teachers explained to my hubby and I that Papi was more than capable but just not willing to apply himself. So yes, I did cry. But only for a minute, because while I don’t want to rob him of his happiness, I also have been charged with the responsibility of being his parent. And as his parent, one of my jobs is to prepare him for life, while of course, nurturing all of the things that I see inside of him. I also have to help him understand the concept of priorities.
I’ve never played college basketball a day in my life, but I have heard that in college, if you don’t stay on top of your grades, then you don’t play ball. Now, I don’t know how true that is (I’m sure I could easily research that), but I am going to go with that concept and consider myself to be one of his “coaches” (his dad being the other, of course). He didn’t produce the grades so I had to bench him. Not forever, but until he puts forth the same effort academically as he does in the area of sports.
And I am happy to report that all of this took place over a month ago and already the change in Papi’s work habits have changed drastically. He wants to get back on that team so he is doing what I knew he could do all along. He’s still not happy with me at all and he tells me every chance he gets. But hey, you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet.
So do I regret my decision to pull him off the team?? Heck no!
“You are off the team!” Yup that’s right, I said it. But let’s not forget that I also said “I love you” and I truly do, cause if it were not for love, I would not have done what I had to do.
Talk to you soon-Serene
Share with me: Can you recall a time that you as a parent OR when your own parent had to go to what seemed like “drastic measures” to teach a lesson. Do you think it was worth it?