I used to think God guided us by opening and closing doors, but now I know sometimes God wants us to kick some doors down. -Bob Goff
In seventh grade, I got cut from the middle school basketball team. I wasn’t as fast as some of the other girls, so I didn’t hustle. I wasn’t as strong as some of the other girls, so I didn’t get physical. I remember being more embarrassed than disappointed, but I wasn’t surprised to see my name missing from the list. The coach was driving the activity bus for a field trip a week or two after tryouts, and she waited until all of the other kids had cleared out. She stared at me in the giant review mirror. “Do you want to know why you didn’t make my team? You’re not tenacious enough. You need to be more tenacious. I’d love to see you work on that and come back next year.”
I spent the next several years learning how to navigate this idea of tenacity and femininity, a balance of which I still haven’t completely mastered. But I am sure am grateful for that middle school basketball coach who wasn’t afraid to call something out in me, something that she didn’t see but wanted to.
As I venture into new territory in motherhood, I’m struck by my desire to see my kids learn tenacity over success. Whether it be sports, lifestyle choices, friendships, chores, music preferences, grades, personal style, or straight up eating a meal at the dinner table… it doesn’t matter. I want my family to be one that walks in freedom. I want my kids to feel safe enough to try things, even when they’re scared. I want them to learn what it means to get after it.
So I’ve been using that phrase a lot lately. Shooting text messages to the ones who can read, or yelling across the lawn to the ones who can’t. Get after it! It’s fun to watch each personality develop and change throughout the years. Some of them don’t need the coaching. Tenacity is just something that comes naturally to them. But some of them are a little like seventh-grade Rachael. I sure hope that if it doesn’t sink in now with me at home, they’ll run into a middle school basketball coach on an empty activity bus someday.