Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Validation

Work hard.
Do your best.

Work hard. 
Do your best.

Work hard.
Do your best.

I bet we sound like a broken record to our kids. Work hard. Do your best. This has been our mantra to our kids over the years. They've heard us say it thousands of times. We repeat it over and over again in our motivational speeches regarding homework, sports, plays, and even chores. 

For Joey, this year has been all about working hard and doing his best. Sixth grade has been extremely demanding for Joey. The academics have been very challenging and he has met the challenge with hard work and has succeeded. Add to that his extra curricular activities and basketball and having a lead in the musical and the kid has really had to be on his game. 

Last year, Joey's first year playing on a basketball team, was a real year of growth. He went from being very timid on the floor and not really wanting the ball, to being a good defensive player and knowing the plays. Last year the coach named Joey the Most Improved Player. 

Still, basketball does not come naturally for Joey. He works hard at it. There are some kids who are just naturally coordinated, athletic, and fluid in all their movements but Joey has to put in extra effort to make it all work together. When he began this season we could see just how much he had grown from the year before. Joey was the team's best defensive player this year. Whoever was the best shooter, or the biggest guy, on the opposing team that was who Joey was defending. Joey led his team in steals. 
He became much more confident dribbling and put up much needed points at critical moments. He had some great shots out by the three point line that surprised even him. Joey had become a confident starter for his team.
Joey was also a leader on the team. He knew where every player should be at what point and was often shouting out directions to his teammates. At times I was worried that he was too bossy but it turns out his teammates appreciated his help.
Joey's team had a couple of naturally gifted athletes, and really good players, and though Joey was not the most skilled player on the team he made his presence known and was imperative in helping his team win. They even took 2nd place in the last tournament they were in.
Last night was the athletic banquet at Joey's school. Joey's basketball coach handed out three awards that the team had voted on: Most Improved player, the MVP, and the Best Overall player. The kids voted appropriately and the awards went to the right players and Joey was happy for his friends when they received their trophies. 

But the coach wasn't done. He said that he and the Assistant Coach thought that there was one more player that needed to be recognized. He went on to say that this player showed up for practice ready to go, was a leader on the team, always worked hard, had a great attitude, and was helpful to all his teammates. This player was a leader on the court, both in his solid performances, great defense, putting up needed points, and in his relationship with his teammates. The coach reiterated that it was a real pleasure watching this player and it was great to have him on the team. Then the coach called Joey's name and handed him his trophy for the Coach's Award. 
It was all this mama could do to keep from crying. I knew just how much that trophy meant to my boy and I knew he wasn't expecting it. I was so happy for Joey to see that his hard work and dedication was recognized.  It was validation.
Immediately after the coach's speech Joey came running over to me, his face flushed with pride, hugged me and buried his face in my shoulder. "My very first trophy that I earned all on my own." Joey whispered to me.

Joey carried that trophy around for the rest of the night. I swear he would have slept with it if he wasn't so concerned about it breaking. This morning at the breakfast table the trophy sat next to him as he ate. When I walked into the room and saw him beaming at his trophy he looked up at me and said, "I'm just so happy. So proud of myself."

Validation.

You don't always have to be the best, but if you work hard and you do your best you will be a success.

Well done, Joey.

8 comments:

Mom24 said...

Awesome! Congratulations Joey!

Bijoux said...

Wow! Congrats to him.....and that looks like a really nice trophy!

betty said...

Congrats to Joey and it is also good that he knew he had worked hard to get it, that it wasn't just handed out, but it took effort on his part to earn the respect of his coaches and the trophy!!! WTG Joey!

betty

Tabor said...

So glad the the Coach was willing to recognize hard work and reward it. I think so many kids work hard and get just a pat on the back...not the real validation they deserve. Wonderful that you notice how much more important than talent is this skill.

Kat said...

Betty- It is funny because Joey just wrote a paper for his English class stating that he doesn't think trophies should be handed out to everyone just for participating (it was just a general topic his class was discussing). He stated that he thinks that only those who have worked really hard or accomplished something big should be given a trophy otherwise kids will grow up thinking everything will be handed to them easily in life. The next day he got his trophy. We both had to laugh at that.

Tabor- I went up to the coach after the banquet and thanked him for recognizing Joey and told him just how much it meant to Joe. I am so grateful that he was appreciated in that way. It is a wonderful award to receive and I'm so happy for Joey.

Krystyn @ Really, Are You Serious? said...

I got goosebumps! What a great award for Joey to receive. And it's so awesome that he's giving 110%!

(And, pretty awesome that it's because of his awesome parents too!)

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Congratulations! And to you, too, he got all that gumption and encouragement from someone, you know;)

Riahli said...

Oh this post made the tears flow! So wonderful!!!

Words To Live By

Be grateful for each new day.
A new day that you have never lived before.
Twenty-four new, fresh, unexplored hours to use usefully and profitably.
We can squander, neglect, or use them.
Life will be richer or poorer by the way we use today.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could;
some blunders and absurdities crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be
encumbered with your old nonsense.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson