Pouring Your Life into Others…

Instilling knowledge. Influencing lives. Building character. Living Christ day by day in front of your students. All of these are a part of teaching and coaching in a Christian school. TEAM is one of the member missions that supplies teachers and staff to the Christian Academy in Japan to “equip students to impact the world for Christ”. Every teacher and staff member has a number of stories to tell of children and young adults growing, not just in head knowledge, but in character and spiritual wisdom. The following is just one of those stories, reflections of a mom who has watched her son grow in recent months.

Yesterday our 12 year old had his final wrestling meet of the season, his first ever season. It has rushed past very quickly. I cannot allow this to pass without just a few comments.

Firstly, I learned a lot at the Wrestling Rules Clinic one of the coaches taught nine days ago, so yesterday was less of a quest in understanding and definitely more enjoyable.

Secondly, I have to say I've enjoyed watching my boy wrestle. Part of it is that he's enjoying it and has a good grasp of what he's doing. But also, to see how much he's grown in knowledge and ability in just the short season of only about two months.

That leads me to reflecting again on the kinds of qualities that the sport of wrestling develops in a person. I've seen sportsmanship, and not taking a loss personally. And the ability to cope with losing, when you cannot blame anyone else on your team. This has particularly been noteworthy with our son's teammate. He hasn't had a good season. But he has shown character. Many others would have given up a long time ago, collapsed in tears, or given over to anger. But this young man has persevered in adversity. I can only think that this experience has helped him grow and will give him an advantage over others later in life who have had easy success.

Perseverance is a notable characteristic that we've seen in these boys. Yesterday I saw my son come back from behind to dominate an opponent, almost pinning him. And in another match, he lost the first period, but was able to recover and win the next two periods, ending in pinning his opponent. He showed patience, and the ability to overcome his frustration in a challenging situation. I was impressed. These haven't always been characteristics we've seen in him. I'm excited that wrestling has helped him grow in these areas.

After he pinned his opponent, he spontaneously expressed concern that his opponent was okay, after seeing his distress (partly shoulder pain, partly disappointment at being pinned three matches running). Compassion. Another valuable character trait.

I've also seen my son caring for his teammate. Coaching him, encouraging him.

Who would have thought wrestling could bring out these things?

And of course it is great for their bodies. It is great for these guys to be gaining a great deal of control over their bodies. At the same time they're developing muscles that anyone could be proud of. And what guy doesn't like to develop visible muscles? Our three sons love to talk about six-packs, show their biceps off etc…

I have mixed feelings about it being over for the year. It is good that we can get some of our quiet Saturdays back (and sleep-ins), but it is sad to see something that he was really getting into, coming to a close. But, I also figure, the way the year is already going, it won't be long until the wrestling comes around again in November!

By Linda Rudd

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