Happy Monday, everyone, and welcome back to week 2 of my new series: FTSL (From The Sidelines). This series was inspired as fall sports season got underway for our family and we trekked back out to the soccer field sidelines. As we settled into our seats, it occurred to me that there are life lessons going on all around us, no matter our ages or situations, but especially on the playing field(s).
This weekend, flag football for our youngest was added to the mix. And while it was great to have an hour gap between our oldest’s soccer and youngest’s football games, that meant we all got up
ungodly early for a Saturday to make the rounds as a family. Here in Indiana, we’ve been blessed with unusually cool weather this past week–highs in the 60’s, lows dipping below 50. I’m loving it. So between the cooler weather and additional stop on our Saturday sports circuit came the inspiration for this week’s message:
Every family has their own routine, their own schedules. But regardless of where you’re going or who you’re going with, you need to be prepared. For us, that means layering our clothes so that when the chilly morning air (hopefully) gives way to midday mild temps, we’re not all roasting and uncomfortable. And wearing shoes, preferably the semi-waterproof kind. It’s no fun tromping through cold, dewy grass in flip flops. Collapsible, lightweight chairs are a must, as are snacks and beverages–especially for those of us with little ones on the sidelines who tend to get grouchy when blood sugars run low (or boredom begins to run high). Last but not least are the items that remain in our trunk most of the season on a “just in case” basis: thick blankets, umbrellas, sunscreen, bug spray, and extra soccer and footballs.
Some weekends we assume the role of pack mules and carry each of the aforementioned items to the sidelines with us. Others, we pack light. Regardless, the hope is that in time we learn to have everything we need in case we need it.
And isn’t that true of life?
As we grow up and venture out into the “real world”, we bring with us the skills, tools, and relationships we believe are necessary to get us where we’d like to go. But more often than not we learn along the way that we’ve either overlooked a needed skill or tool, or that we haven’t forged the right relationships/contacts. We realize that perhaps we weren’t as prepared as we thought we were.
In those moments of self-awareness, do we abandon our progress and race back to the starting line? Of course not! Instead, we seek what’s missing and try to add it to the stock in our proverbial trunk so that we’re better prepared for our next adventure. What’s important isn’t that we overlooked those missing pieces, so much as us being able to recognize they were missing in the first place and then doing what we can to correct the situation.
Forget your jacket? After spending an hour outside on an open field any cold and blustery fall day, chances are you won’t make that mistake twice.
Forget your driving instructions to that out of town meeting you had for work last week? Forget your homework? Forget to mail your sister’s birthday card?
Yep, these are all the kinds of mistakes we as humans tend to make. But if we’re smart we learn from these mistakes, grow from them, and strive to do better the next time. And if you see your peers making mistakes, you can learn from those, too. Or even better, offer to help them through this mistake (…What? You forgot your blanket? Here, we always pack an extra…) so they’ll be better prepared the next time out. Trust me, they’ll thank you for it later.
So take the time to plan ahead, double-check the inventory in your “trunk”, and be sure that no matter where you’re headed, you do your best to COME PREPARED.