We had a decision to make.
My son could continue to play baseball for Team A from where we used to live or he could change and play with Team B in our new town. Team A meant more driving, but we liked the coach and team and families. The team was good and challenged his skill level. Team B was closer but we had heard negative things about the coach from multiple people and the team was behind Crew in skills.
I know it sounds lame to fret over a sports team, but this was more than a sports team. It was our family dinners, our afternoons, our weekends, our summer. It was Crew’s friends and influences and mentors.
It really was a dilemma for us. I thought about it over and over and couldn’t make a decision. One day I was Team A and the next I was Team B. I would go back and forth — seeing good and bad in both scenarios. My pros and cons T-chart was failing me. My husband really wasn’t much help either. He was just as perplexed.
The only one that was sure about anything was Crew. And he thought he should play for Team A.
So I got to thinking as I often do.
Maybe Chad and I were stumped because both teams were okay? Maybe neither team was the right answer? Or maybe it wasn’t really our decision to make? Maybe we needed to trust Crew to make this decision; after all, it was his life. And maybe, just maybe, this choice would be the perfect teaching ground for Crew on how to receive personal revelation? What a great chance for him to get an answer to prayer.
I’ve long thought that kids need to learn how to get personal revelation earlier than we let them. We control too much and take over too much, and when it becomes necessary for personal revelation they are not prepared. They don’t know what to do, how to ask, what answers feel like, etc. Kids need practice in personal revelation before the stakes are high.
After all, we have our children practice baseball and soccer; they practice piano and violin. We have them practice reading and multiplication facts. We may even have them practice kindness and nice words, but do we give them enough opportunities to practice personal revelation?
I didn’t want Crew’s first experience with choice and prayer to be when he was praying about what college to go to or who to marry. I wanted to give him practice now when the consequences weren’t severe and when we could always turn back.
I like to think I had a burst of inspiration when I hatched my plan.
We started out by praying generally about which team we should choose. In family prayer, food prayer and personal prayer, I would hear Crew say “please help me to know which team to choose.”
We had lots of family discussions about the pros and cons of both teams.
Crew kept saying that he felt he should play for Team A.
Since Crew had made a decision, we talked to him about now fasting about his decision to see if it was right. A fast Sunday was coming up so it was the perfect opportunity. We had to role play and model for him what his prayers may sound like now.
“Heavenly Father, I think I should play for Team A. Is that the right decision? Please help me know if that is the right decision.”
We also discussed how the answers might feel. We taught him if your answer is right, you might feel warm or calm or peaceful. If your answer is wrong, you may feel confused or uneasy.
As Crew prayed about his decision, I kept praying that Crew could have a testimony building experience – that he could understand prayer better. That this could be a pivotal experience in his life.
In the end, after a couple of weeks of praying, Crew felt good about playing for Team A.
And so did Chad and I.
When Crew’s decision made its way around the family, we got some flack from the usual people that tend to judge our parenting. They questioned us letting Crew choose, or they questioned Crew’s choice, making fun that of course he would choose the team he wanted to play for.
Luckily, I don’t let others’ judgements get to me. (Homeschooling helps you grow a thick skin.) There is a confidence that comes when you are working through inspiration, even if family mocks you.
I heard Crew pray. I saw him fast. I trusted his heart.
Plus I saw our decision as a win-win. We let Crew pray, decide, fast, and pray again. How could that not be the best thing for a 9 year old boy? And if he chose Team A because it was inspired or because that was just what he wanted, it didn’t matter. Crew would learn either way. He would learn how inspiration felt or he would learn how deception felt. If he chose “wrong” for selfish purposes, he would feel the repercussions of that for a whole season. He would miss out on potential blessings.
I was willing to put a few more miles on my car and pay for a little more gas for Crew to learn whatever lessons he needed.
And I happen to think he made the right decision. I feel good about it. Chad feels good about it. And most importantly, Crew feels good about it.
But I am most happy that Crew has an experience with personal revelation under his belt.