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Had to Bite my Tongue and be a "Good Dad"


My oldest two children, Lauren and Trevor, are great athletes. They excel in cross country and soccer. Chipper is my youngest child. He played his share of baseball and soccer growing up, but never really "got into it" like his brother and sister. In recent years he has gotten a little too comfortable behind the X-Box and TV. My wife, Amy and I have tried to encourage him to get outside and "do" something. We forced him to run cross country this year for Heritage Middle School, and although he only qualified to run in one race, he enjoyed it.

About a month ago, a good friend of mine, Kevin Donovan, ( the tennis pro at the Chattanooga Raquet Club in Hixson) called me and said he had an opening for a lesson and wondered if Chipper would want to give it a try. Against Chipper's initial desire, we went. Kevin was great-he patiently introduced Chipper to the basics of tennis. When the 30 minute lesson was over he presented Chipper with a raquet and a bunch of balls to practice with. Chipper was hooked!

The Heritage Middle School Tennis team is a no-cut team, meaning that anyone can come out and play. Chipper has been playing doubles. He hasn't won a game or match yet, but has been enjoying it.

For the first time, I was able to go and watch him play. He played in a singles match against a much more experienced McCallie Middle School boy. Chipper, again lost, but had fun. While I was watching him, I had to fight the urge to "get on/coach" him from the sidelines. In my opinion, he wasn't doing any of the things that Kevin had taught him in the lesson. I found myself biting my tongue. God told me-"Ted, now is not the time to coach-but to just sit back and encourage your son." So I did. It was another one of those times that Chipper bonded. (I will get him to Kevin to do the coaching!)

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