I just read a surprising statistic this morning: according to a Trulia analysis 40% of Americans ages 18 to 34 were living with their parents, siblings, or other relative in 2015.
I am left speechless by this percentage, yet I'm also left with SO many thoughts swirling around this reality. I choose not to voice most of them, but to consider--gratefully, thankfully, and proudly--the absence of my eight children in that range from the 40%. (I need to post this soon, because in a few months I'll have one in that range, 18 but with a year of high school to go.)
The upper reaches of the 18 to 34 would be the most likely to have gained independence and you five 26-32 year-olds are all caring for families and, as anyone would hope and expect, self-supporting. But you next three, you're the "in between" age range. You're not kids, not parents, not homeowners and maybe not a lot of things--maybe not married, maybe not out of school, and maybe not settled in a career or even your part of the world yet. You three are voted "most likely to be adults still living at home". But you're not.
I had two fabulous weekends to remind me how wonderful and very rewarding it is to see your kids turn into grown ups.
The first weekend was with Shane and Claire, (enjoying a girls weekend away with Lisa) and being the recipients of their warm hospitality. They're juggling a lot--marriage, school, sports, a home, pursuits of medical school, and hosting family with relaxed smiles. They make their share of sacrifices (imagine Shane's 6'7" frame on a moped in all kinds of weather) but they're working hard, and taking responsibility, and they're shining!
We were able to watch a couple of basketball games, too. College basketball hasn't ended up being all that Shane had hoped it would be, on a number of levels. Disappointment is hard to take, but it's even harder to watch when it's served to your kids. The pride, though, in seeing him handle it well, turn it into a positive experience, and grow from that experience has been tremendous. Even so, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to see him flourish in a hard fought win over the number one team in their conference. Shane played a big role in defending the inside game against two opponents that Lisa and I nicknamed Thing One and Thing Two. It was a joy to see his huge smile and watch him really enjoy the game he's loved for so long.
The next weekend event was a surprise trip with Keith to Georgia to celebrate Troy's birthday. It was our first trip to his new home in the southeast and, after he got past the utter shock of his Mom standing at his front door (accomplice Bryce had set up the ruse) he showed us around. He's made a marvelously practical choice for his living space and needed to give no typical bachelor apologies as he showed us around (OK, maybe one apology). I love to watch the unfolding of adulthood and see the results of dreams, plans, and trial and error all come together. Troy's confidence knows no bounds!
The surprise continued when Bryce schemed with the restaurant host to take the place of our wait staff and deliver Troy's dessert. Troy was in disbelief as an inappropriately friendly "waiter" leaned from behind him over his shoulder with the dessert and announced, in a heavy accent, "Hello my name is Fronk and I have come to serve you the double chococate...." His laughter was genuine, but it wasn't until Bryce started making up words that he turned around and took a good look at this weird waiter. There's almost nothing better for a mom than seeing her sons genuinely euphoric to see one another.
Bryce, still a teenager, and absolutely the most likely to be living off his parents had made the four-hour drive from his home in another state where he has settled and is making his own way, figuring out his own life, and planning to share it with his bride in a few months. He doesn't have things all figured out, but is ambitiously learning where he fits and how to make changes to get where he wants to go. His trust in God is paramount and the joy of Christ pours from him into the lives of all he touches.
We experienced the combined energy and creativity of these men for an exhausting 24 hours. We laughed at their antics (following their car), relaxed and played (or watched) games, and got to turn a blind eye as they ran over flower garden chasing a football into prized landscaping at the botanical garden (not our "kids", not our problem!").
Three boys, three states, three states of life, on different paths, but all doing it on their own. I'm thankful I only have to imagine what it would be like to be the parent of the 40%.
Just when I think the dust has settled on the 2015-16 basketball season and we can look forward to a typical basketball season we have a whole new set of events going on. The news so far this year have been Shane getting his front tooth knocked out while playing the Minnesota Gophers; Owen's knee surgery and missing the first month of basketball; and the pertussis outbreak at the high school that cancelled all games and practices for Owen and Lisa for a solid 16 days.
Can we just settle down for some nice, quiet basketball already?
In light of the negative attention that last week's basketball game received, and in honor of Gabe turning 10-years-old this week, I thought I would relive this great memory from football season 2014.
I am not so naive as to think that this is how athletic competitions should end all the time, that it never matters if you win or lose, and that we just need to make everyone feel good. But I sure am glad that this select group of people on this one particular day came together to make Gabe's day, and in the process, left smiles on the faces of millions of people around the world. The video shows Gabe (a then 8-year-old, being guided by his older brother, Owen (who was also on the court during the stall game last week) and then chased down by a great group of opposing players (from Mosinee) who just make this the best high school touchdown ever.
Happy Birthday Gabe!!
(I wish I could get the NFL video with commentator breakdown to show up as a full video, but I can't, so here is the link to their piece:
To: Wisconsin State
Basketball Coaches and the WIAA
Re: Basketball or “Stall
Dear Coaches and Board Members,
I sat through a painful 36-minute “stall ball” game last
night. Even before the end of the
blisteringly boring excuse for a game (and while we led by 4 points) I was
drafting this letter in my head. The
nauseated feeling that began in the first five minutes of play never went
away. For me, this isn’t about winning
and losing. For the coaches, apparently,
that is all it is about.
As for basketball, I am not new to the game. I played high school basketball in MN, played
on a European women’s team while I was an exchange student, and played one year
of division 2 college basketball before transferring to a division 1 school
where I knew I could not (and did not care to try to) compete. I stayed involved in athletics by officiating
intramural games; and I married an athlete who played high school football,
basketball, and baseball and has officiated at upper levels of competition. We have eleven children; and, our ninth child
and seventh son is a now high school athlete.
I have been watching my kids play baseball, soccer, softball, football,
and basketball for twenty-two years. Besides
all of the regular season games, I’ve watched them play in all-star games, AAU
games, state east-west games,a MN-WI border battle, state tournaments, college
football games, and college basketball games.
I estimate that I have sat through at least 1600 games.
In twenty-two years and 1600+ games I have seen only ONE team end the season with a
win. Only ONE team made it to the final championship game and took home the
trophy. That’s only one in almost 200
teams’ seasons, less than 0.5% success. Learn
a lesson coaches, it isn’t just about winning.
If it is, you are a collective group of ultimate failures.
I haven’t encouraged my kids to play sports so they can “win”. I’ve encouraged them to play because they
enjoy it and to learn very valuable life lessons. I believe kids should walk away from an
athletic experience knowing more about hard work, cooperation, teamwork,
handling pressure, submitting to leadership, letting others down, and knowing
how to deal with those who’ve let them down.
I believe they should learn the benefits of dedication, giving it
everything they have, improving their work ethic, and doing all they can as a
team to do to those things together. I
believe these lessons take them into job situations, marriages, families, and
community positions better equipped to be leaders.
I want my kids to be leaders, but not without integrity. Leadership without integrity is what most
people call “politics”. What we all
despise about “politics” is the blatant maneuvering to position oneself for
personal gain and victory. We link it
with a lack of integrity.
That’s what I feel is happening with high school basketball. We were witness to this kind of basketball three times this season. Sitting and watching a team hold the ball for
7 straight minutes is not a game. Watching
a team dribble in circles and pass for minutes on end, waiting to draw a foul,
is frustratingly pointless for players and fans alike. But the fact that it’s frustrating for the
fans is not a reason to change strategies.
Three real reasons to stop engaging in the “stall ball” stategy are: 1) it violates the integrity of the game, 2) it undermines real sportmanship, and 3) the reason for competing in a team sport in
the first place is seriously violated by such behavior. This kind of basketball is the making of a
sports blooper segment, not an athletic event.
Coaches, when it comes to your “stall ball”, even the
players hate it. They want to play. They joined the team because they like to
play. I hear first hand what is said by
our team’s players and by the opposition. They hate it.
We’ve taught them too well to respect authority and do what you tell
them to do. They do it because you make
them do it; but, THEY HATE IT. Ask them,
I’m sure you’ll find that the vast majority don’t mind losing as much as they mind not
As a parent, one of the most frustrating things I’ve had to
do is create what seem like obvious rules.
(I’m guessing that the WIAA committees feel the same way.) I wrongly thought
that basic, overriding principles of life would be enough to direct my
children. Then they got old enough to
bend the rules, push the boundaries, and come to me saying, “But you didn’t say
not to…” And so the need for specific
rules and precise language arose. I
would prefer that my kids exercise personal discretion and integrity to do what
is right. As much as possible, I still
challenge them to make mature and honest choices without a defined list of
rules. When it comes to basketball we’ve
had sons share with us how, in games, they tried to ‘get into players heads’ to
mess them up, “accidentally” tap a ball away before inbounding to take time off
the clock, or quietly taunt someone to anger them and get them to retaliate and
foul. We have heartily denounced those behaviors. Whether they’re legal or just something they
can get away with doesn’t matter, it’s bad sportsmanship and lacks integrity.
We want this generation to grow up and make society better,
not more self-serving. While “stall ball”
is within the rules of Wisconsin high school basketball, everyone who has had
to pay $4, maybe drive 1-2 hours (or more) and then sit through what doesn’t
even resemble the game that drives the kids to want to play in the first place,
knows first hand that the integrity of the game, and high school athletcs, has
It’s true, “No one said you can’t do that.” But they should.
Shame on all of you. (After some consideration, I feel that this was in inappropriate comment. I apologize.)
Please understand, this is not simply about one game, one team, or one coach. I wrote most of this letter a month ago following another frustrating stall ball game. I wish we had stalled and lost so that you would know this is not sour grapes!
Here is an excerpt from a comment that may help express the purpose of this letter: The debate about this is not new, a shot clock was first implemented in professional basketball in 1954 and the NCAA came on board in the mid 1980s. Everyone understands that 36 minutes of stalling is not basketball. The high schools have been reluctant to go to the shot clock because of the costs, training, and management and because it could potentially hurt younger players who need more time to implement the basic fundamentals of the game.
The National Federation of High School Association, on its website states, "Currently, Massachusetts, Maryland, Rhode Island, Washington, New York, California, North Dakota and South Dakota utilize the shot clock for either boys or girls or both. Since there currently is no allowance for a shot clock under NFHS rules, these states forfeit opportunity for service on the Basketball Rules Committee."
Unless the NFHS changes the rules, I believe its time for Wisconsin to join those eight states and use the shot clock. You can have your 1980s basketball. I"m ready to move forward.
As a follow-up to the Time Vacuum post, I am posting the video of the sons performing in their fathers' footsteps. I think perhaps Chet inherited Uncle Kyle's dance moves. This video was taken in 1998 at Camp Nicolet, having moved from Camp Algonquin where the original version was performed.
From left to right--Jared, Kip, Keith, Marty, Chet, Kaleb, and Joey (sons of Kyle, Kenny, Keith, and Marty)
Shane asked me to send him a clip of a video that we have on VHS. It's TWENTY years old. My four youngest children were not even born when this video was made!
It has been a favorite among all of them. A few of them remember seeing it performed live, the rest of them enjoy seeing the tape every once in awhile. That is how Shane remembers it, on tape. He was only 8 months old when it was made, yet he wanted me to send it to him so that Claire could see it, too.
Finding the clip on the tape was quite a throw-back in time. As I ran through it I saw my older children twenty years younger, I saw the self that is now me two decades past. It was definitely old school. Yet, I was impressed to see how little my husband has changed. With the exception of his hair style he looks just the same! (I feel kind of bad for him that the same is not true for me.)
This clip is a children's song written by Wisconsin artist Ken Lonnquist called Time Vacuum. It is sung by the five White brothers and their brother-in-law, my children's father and uncles. Some years later a group of the cousins of the next generation performed the song for another camp talent show. I'll have to look for that one!
Here they are, stuck in their own time vacuum of sorts.