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The next day, walking out of a staff meeting at Sheridan House, Steve, one of the ex-college athletes on staff, asked me about Robey. "Howís soccer going?" It was just an innocent question to show his interest in my children, but it opened the door for me to say, "Funny that you should ask. Iím thinking about pulling him out. He has a horrible coach." I went on to describe some of the difficulties we were having. Steve responded with a twinkle in his eye. "Sounds like heís getting good practice for some of the bad coaches and teachers and grumpy bosses heís going to have in the future! We all need that kind of practice."
Part of what Steve said was a joke. But he was right. This could be good practice. Robey stayed on that team that season. I hung around a lot more than I had done in previous years and every day after practice we discussed what went on. We discussed why the coach yelled at the boys so much, why he used the language he did, and how Robey could best approach him. Together we decided that it would be good for Robey to pick a time to ask the coach if he could talk to him for a minute privately. We even rehearsed out loud what Robey would say, with me yelling back at him. We also talked about earning the right to question people in authority by working hard at practice.
Robey did talk with his coach one day after practice. He asked him all the right questions. It didnít change the way the coach talked to or treated the boys. In fact, it barely changed they way the coach treated Robey. But it did give Robey some practice that was far more significant than soccer practice. It gave him an opportunity to practice respectful assertiveness. It gave him an opportunity to practice respect for authority while not being afraid to ask questions.
This article is based on Dr. Bob Barnesís new book, Ready for Responsibility, by Dr. Bob Barnes (Zondervan, 1997), available at your local bookstore or by calling 1-800-727-3480.
HEARTLIGHT(sm) Magazine is a ministry of loving Christians and the Westover Hills church of Christ.
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Copyright © 1997, Heartlight, Inc., 8332 Mesa Drive, Austin, TX 78759.
Edited by Phil Ware and Paul Lee.
Article copyright © 1997, Zondervan Publishing House. Used by permission.
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