I called our boys down from their rooms the other night. Rarely do I bother them once they have closed their bedroom doors, but I’d remembered and forgotten 10 times over that day to tell them the news.
Boys! Come here please. They hovered in the door. Curious, nervous. I was distracted trying to pull up the internet link, so I paused a little too long.
“We’re moving… around the corner.”
I looked up just in time to see the fear flash across their faces, and for a moment I was confused. They knew we were looking at a house yesterday. They knew it was in town. What was there to fear? And then I realized.
Our boys will always carry a lingering fear that their temporary home is once again changing.
I can’t blame them, they understand their dad’s career is a hard one. They hear what people say about his teams and they’ve even heard an opinion or more about their father’s coaching ability.
More than that, our sons are smart. They have sharp memories and our sons are acutely aware that even when we are told that we won’t be leaving, they may soon learn we are because administrators are fickle, and sometimes they lie.
Why does Fear Linger?
Fear lingers with coaches’ kids because they see how much their dad sacrifices. Kids see how hard they are working outside the office for the team and how little else is getting done during the season.
Coaches’ kids understand that all their dads work as hard as they can, and they know that in the blink of an eye it can all be taken away because it all comes down to wins and losses.
What a life. To know that you will pack your room, say goodbye to your friends, your school, your teammates, your current comforts at any time and be asked to start over once again.
It’s no wonder that an unintentional pause causes momentary panic.
How Can We Help Reduce the Fear?
While I understand there is little I can do to eliminate that fear, I can do what I can to reduce the wonder. I’ve tried to encourage our boys to ask questions when they come up instead of holding them in and wondering.
When things may change we try to keep them in the loop as much as appropriately possible (like telling them we’re looking at a house). But this is a catch-22. It’s important to protect kids from themselves and not require them to hold onto secrets they will have a hard time keeping to themselves.
Knowing our kids’ personalities, one needs to verbally process sooner than the other. This means creating space such as ice cream dates or asking for help with errands so there is car time to chat.
Find Outside Resources
Don’t be afraid to seek outside support. Connect with your church, get kids involved in youth groups, mentoring programs, hobbies, and activities. It’s important to make sure that your kids have the outlets they need to properly express themselves and channel their fears rather than focus on them. While it may never leave, fear doesn’t need to dominate their days.
We’ve worked hard to point our boys to God and to help them develop independent relationships with him. We understand that God is the only one who will help them fully wrestle with their fear. He will also help them persevere when they hear those dreaded words once again.
While no solution is perfect, I’m most thankful that our boys have each other. They are good friends who know to look out for each other and include each other in experiences. They value their relationship with each other and will always have that with every move.