Basketball: The new sport in our lives. Two days a week my son and I head down to the gym for drills and skills. The team is called the Jaguars and right now they are learning the fundamentals of the game. Dribbling, chest pass, bounce pass, overhead pass, shuffling down the court, jump shots. Playing teaches the kids life skills. These coaches are leading the kids towards a process, helping them see their strengths and to believe that as long as they keep trying, they can accomplish anything. The game also teaches the kids problem solving skills, because they have to figure out strategies, like who is open and where to throw the ball.
It is fun to sit on the sidelines and watch the determination on the court. These kids are six or seven and many of them can't throw the ball high enough to make that basket. Positive reinforcement from the coaches makes them want to work even harder, you can see it in their eyes. Occasionally my son glances over to see if I am watching. When he notices my observance, he gets this cute smile on his face that he tries to hide. After he makes a basket and misses, he turns to me and I give him a smile and thumbs up every time. I tell him how proud I am. Sometimes I ponder; "What does he think about on the court?" It makes me reflect on how quickly his first seven years have flown by. I am savoring as much as I can while it is here.
Research has shown that a relationship with a caring adult can make a huge difference in the lives of our kids. I am in awe of these men and women who give so much of themselves. I appreciate these coaches because they are impacting our lives in profound ways. I wonder if they really know the extent to which they are making a difference for these kids. As a single mom, I have always thought about how we would incorporate positive role models in our house and I have done many things to ensure that happens. What I am learning is that mentors are everywhere in our comminities and it starts with one person. We look around and watch the circle build on itself. All we need to do is open our eyes and look around to see it in action.
When my business partner, JoAnne, talked about writing a book series with multicultural characters who introduce kids to sports, it was brilliant. It was a unique concept we were not able to find in the market. The first time we sat in a conference room in downtown Minneapolis and discussed the idea and the characters, the magic began and a community was born. That was only a few years ago and since then the business has become this amazing machine. Bur Bur and Friends has evolved into an extension of our families and we hope it makes a difference in the lives of everyone it touches.basket and misses, he turns to me and I give him a smile and thumbs up every time. I tell him how proud I am. Sometimes I ponder; ?What does he think about on the court?? It makes me reflect on how quickly his first seven years have flown by. I am savoring as much as I can while it is here.
[Originally posted on http://burburandfriendsblog.com ]
By Kakie Fitzsimmons, Vice President and Founding Partner, Farmer?s Hat Productions,
Co-author of Bur Bur and Friends, an award winning children?s book series that uses a cast of young multicultural characters to teach kids about sports.