For those who may not know, in football, there is a term known as “Calling an audible.” The term refers to when the quarterback changes the play at the last minute, differing from what the coach anticipated them needing to run. The change is based on what the QB sees happening in front of him, he calls the changes to help his team be the most successful they can be.
In parenting, as in life, most of the time we try to have a plan. Just like the coach who send their payers out on the field, we have an idea of how we think the events will go.
What happens when it doesn’t go according to plan?
Are we teaching our kids that it is ok to “call an audible” when needed?
At the beginning of the summer, we invited my sister, her teenage children, and her dog to come to stay at our place. They desperately needed to get out of an environment that was not healthy for any of them any longer.
This was not the summer plan, though it needed to be done.
In the middle of June, our extended family typically comes together for a weekend of camping at a lake just over an hour from our home. The date is set months in advance, meals are planned weeks ahead of time.
The weeks leading up to the camping trip included the added events of moving a second family into a single-family home.
Then a car was totaled by a deer.
Then a football game was scheduled that required my husband to not only leave town but leave the state.
Also, it was near 95* that weekend, before Iowa humidity was factored in.
I called an audible.
We went to visit the campsite for dinner on Friday. We went back to visit on Saturday to partake in the water activities.
We did not camp. We did not stay.
We went home at night.
For our immediate family unit, my sister’s family unit, and my parents, it was too much.
I talked with my kids about why we changed the plans, and what we were doing instead. Some were annoyed, some were fine, all rolled with it by the end of the weekend.
Two of my kids are in 4H and have shown our dogs at the county fair in the past. They will not be this year.
I called an audible.
This activity was one added layer to the summer that we have not been able to make work. We could have maxed out our already stressed emotions to fit it in, but I drew a line.
Life works like that sometimes. For all the planning and preparing that goes in, there are times that it just will not work.
We need to teach our kids, and ourselves, that it is acceptable, and even important, to recognize when something is going to be too much.
Even if it is a good thing like camping.
Even if it is something we have done in the past.
There are times when we just can’t do it.
There are times we need to call the audible.