Sunday, 09 October 2016 13:32

By Honoring our Children, We Make a Difference

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By Honoring Our Children, We Make a Difference

Even in my former state of oblivion - the endless and often mindless pursuit of salary and title - I knew something significant.  I knew that our son, Quinton, was a special soul.  His gentleness, his sweetness, his goodness; the list goes on and on. 


I remember sitting in a conference at Marshdale Elementary with Quinton’s teacher and counselors as we discussed his struggles with reading.  They wanted to put him in an ILP program because he was behind and I told them, “that is fine and good, but if you damage his soul in any way, there will be hell to pay.”


I remember that before Quinton transitioned, he wanted to play football.  He was so interested that we went to some practices.  I watched the coaches, totally missing the good ones as I focused on those who were in it for their own egos-the strutting, arrogant coaches with their sunglasses and whistles.   I knew that if Quinton had to play for one of those coaches and if one negative word was said to damage my son’s psyche, I would damage them.  I was not going to allow this to happen, period.


And then Quinton transitioned to pure energy.  The old souls in my life, those who have known me for years, known me better than I knew myself, told me, “Ernie, you have to coach football!” How did they know, when I didn’t?


As a coach, I am less about the points scored and more about something else.  I am about the life lessons, being able to face adversity and to learn from it in some way.  When my players are struggling, either individually or collectively, I let them know that it is okay.  I share my family’s adversity, the passing of Quinton, and I introduce him to them.   I let them know that he is the reason that I now stand before them – they are now all my sons.


I coach to be able to look young people in the eyes, to see their pain and to face it. To be able to walk up to them and ask, “Are you okay?”  To reassure them that it will all work out.  And finally to experience the exchange of energy between us when they realize that at that moment they are like a son to me and that someone cares!  Someone cares deeply, all because of Quinton. 


After a tough loss this past fall, the players were distraught.  Many were crying, and others were despondent because they had given it their all.  The setting allowed me to explain my belief that there is always something to learn by going through adversity. 


A few weeks ago, my wife Kristine sat next to a woman in the stands who told her that her son was on the football team. He had just learned that his injury would prevent him from ever playing football again, and he told his Mom about the encouraging message he had received from ‘Coach Jackson.'   Hearing this later made my day.


It is good to know that we are making a difference.  And we invite each of you to know that you can also make a difference.  Yes, it sucks that your son or daughter has transitioned, and they are with us spiritually instead of physically.  However, while we are all still here in the physical world, let’s make a difference. Let’s share our wisdom, our love and our newfound perspective with someone who can benefit from it.  And by helping others, we will help ourselves.


And this is a blessing, for them as well as for us!

-Ernie and Kristine Jackson

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