A funny thing happened while coaching Tennis Camp this week… I recognized a kid because I knew his dad. It’s funny to me because it wasn’t because he looks like his dad, but because he carries his father with him. I know the dad from Men’s breakfasts in our church and have heard how he talks about his sons, and how he coaches at a school in a neighboring town.
So when I was getting to know the kids in attendance, and we were talking about where they were from, and I don’t remember what the kid said, but suddenly everything came into focus. I recognized the team on his shirt as the team his dad coaches, and he mentioned going to our church, and his dads voice began to ring in my ears of the stories where he’s talked about trying to be a better man and dad for his sons. It all came into focus and I knew who their dad was, and I immediately felt like I knew the boys. There was an instantaneous camaraderie that came from knowing who their dad was.
They were carrying their dad with them, and we all do that, and we hope that our kids will always take our teaching with them. I didn’t have to ask them if “so-and-so” was their dad, because I knew. I knew them, because I knew their dad, and in knowing their dad, I knew their character and what to expect from them.
One of my favorite times of year as a teacher is Parent/Teacher Conferences. It is my chance to see where these kids I see every day get their strengths and weaknesses. It is my time to discover why they are the way that they are. For me, conferences are rarely about the grades or performance of the student, but it’s about getting the complete picture of who this student is. Being able to look mom and dad in the eye and interact with them lets me see family values, parental expectations, and home supports when I set my expectations for them after that.
My kids look like me, but my hope is that they will carry me with them; in their heart, in their values, and in their actions. I hope that someone who knows me can meet my kids and see me in them.