I spent a good part of last week trying to convince one of my seven-year-old twins to play soccer.
You read that right; I'm trying to convince him.
I played a video of kids playing soccer. We talked about people in our family who've played soccer.
I had his speech therapist do a social story on soccer.
I have actually pleaded with the Creator of the universe, "please let my kid play soccer...".
Not because I'm obsessed with sports - any one who really knows me knows that is a joke.
But because sports teach things I can't.
Like how to try something even though you're nervous.
Or team spirit.
Or good sportsmanship.
How to have a good attitude, win or lose.
And how to make friends.
Sports teach life skills that he needs...
and that do not come easy to kids on the autism spectrum.
So, yes, I spent a good amount of time trying to persuade him.
First, I talked him into going to Academy with us to buy cleats and shin guards for his younger brother, who is also playing.
Then I said, "just try on a pair...".
I couldn't believe it, but he did. And then he told me when needed a new soccer ball because the one in our backyard was dirty.
So we bought a new soccer ball. And water bottles. And by the time we paid for everything, he had agreed to go meet the coach.
At this point, I was still prepared to ask for my money back.
The night before the big day, I talked to him about how it's okay to be nervous when you don't know what to expect in a new situation. We talked about being brave and things he was scared about in the past that ended up working out just fine. We talked about making friends and how exciting it would be to have everyone come and watch his games.
And in the morning, he didn't fuss much about going. He still claimed he wasn't going to play, though.
When we got to the fields, he asked me to help him put his cleats on.
Hesitant, he turned around. I gave him a smile, reminding him I was going to be right there watching. Then the coach took his hand.
And he did great.
He had fun.
So much fun, that when we got back in the van, he asked when he could come back and play again.
I'm a soccer mom :).
So how do we reach big goals?
Hand in hand, one baby step at a time.
Equally weighed out patience and perseverance.
How do you help your kids reach their goals?