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Running Boy

There are times when I deeply regret not getting that proverbial parent's guide that should come with every child. Even now with 18 years of parenting under my belt, I still don't have the answer for every situation my kids and I find ourselves in. The best I can do is pray for wisdom.

Last night at the cross country meet my son Gabriel came in dead last in his division. Out of some 30 kids - dead last. He's been keeping the tail end of the runners company all season, but he has never been the absolute last runner to come into the finish line before. And it wasn't like there was a split second gap between him and the next kid. There was a huge gap. So much that I wondered if he had collapsed somewhere in the woods and perhaps we should go looking for him... that type of gap.

Gabe's got a few things going against him. He is the biggest kid on our team in his division. He's almost as tall of as the coach although I'm pretty sure he outweighs the coach by 20 pounds or so.

Gabe with the other competitors.


But this is his third year and as far as his speed and times go, he really hasn't made a lot of improvement.

So what do you say to your child as he comes in dead last. "Way to go" doesn't seem to cut it. "Better luck next time?"

I hugged him and told him I was proud that he just kept going, he didn't give up, and I think sometimes that's as important as improving or winning. Mr. Pete asked him if he wanted to quit and Gabe said, "No, I like running." And he said it in a way that sounded like, "What, are you nuts? I enjoy this!" He was sincere.

So I tell my mother's heart to take joy in his running and not to be anxious that he will feel sad or defeated. I tell myself that sometimes doing something just for its own sake is its own reward even if you're not very good at it. In this case Gabe is the teacher and I am learning from his young example.



Running Boy!