My seven-year-old son recently joined a soccer league, a moment of pride for his soccer-playing father and soccer-fan mother and grandmother. Aside from the obvious cuteness factor of watching he and his cohorts chasing one another around in soccer socks and scoring the unlikely goal, I have really enjoyed watching my son learn the meaning of teamwork, and seeing him flourishing in this environment.
Last year, everyone in my home was glued to the television throughout the World Cup, and we were rooting for the USA until Ghana put them out of commission, but even that “disappointment” was an exciting one, and didn’t deter us from rooting for the next underdog. By the time Spain won their first World Cup, we were physically and emotionally drained, and a passion for soccer had begun to develop in my son.
My son’s soccer team, the Dragons Dribblers, is newly-formed; this is only their second season, and the sheds that stand at the back of our pitch are only partially filled with equipment at this point. However, the Dribblers, have already decided that they will one day play in the World Cup, and are actively making plans for what they will do once they have earned a coveted spot in the finals.
Now, any parent knows that, when your child has dreams of grandeur, you do not, under any circumstance, discourage those dreams for even one moment. We Dribbler parents are all pretty close, and we have made a concerted effort to encourage our kids every chance we have. We briefly discussed saving up and taking the team to Brazil in 2014, but we soon realized that that dream was a little out of our reach.
However, by the time 2014 rolls around, the kids will be 11 or 12, and we plan on having them so stoked about soccer by then that they will hardly be able to stand the excitement. In lieu of a trip abroad, we have given serious consideration to hosting our own World Cup of sorts – tentatively called the Cutie Cup (although I’m sure that this name will be nixed by then) – in which we challenge other soccer leagues in the state and whittle our way down to a final game. By then, our team should be strong and in-synch, and we should stand a better-than-decent chance at winning.
If you are a parent reading this, the lesson that you can take away from my ramblings is that, whether your child is passionate about soccer, or ballet, or music, or anything, be sure to encourage them, and build up their self-confidence and -esteem every chance you get. Even if their aspirations seem silly or unreasonable to you, the same could be said for all of the great men and women in history who dreamed big as children and made their dreams a reality as adults. Imagine if the parents of Xavi Hernandez, Andrés Iniesta, or Fernando Torres hadn’t supported their sons completely in their aspirations for greatness.
Sarah Stone, who blogs on behalf of Sears and other trusted brands, is an avid soccer fan, and enjoys coming up with DIY home improvement projects in her free time.