Sunday, January 29, 2006

Managing my Husband

The doors lining the high school hallway were decorated with signup sheets: each teacher trying to recruit us students for their extra-curricular activity. They strove for these teams and clubs with, more often than not, more passion than they showed in their classrooms. Yes, such was the scene as I, a highschool freshman, walked through the hall that fall day. Everyone looked at those sheets: most often you could predict the names you would see. However, I wouldn't have predicted to see the name written next to "Girl's Varsity Basketball Manager": it was my own name...and just as I was on my way to sign up for cheerleading! "Who could have done this?!" I thought.

Well, whether it was out of my intimidation of the coach or the honor I felt knowing that my sister (a cool Senior basketball star) signed me up to be part of her team, I didn't erase my name from that sheet. Such was the end of my cheerleading dream and the beginning of great lessons: Lessons of a basketball manager.

I did everything just as I was told: Cleaned locker rooms, picked up towels, fetched this or that, swept the floor, etc. It wasn't glamorous--I didn't get to hop around in front of the cute boys in the stands--but I had determined that, if I was going to be the manager, by golly I was going to be the best manager the school had ever seen. I showed up early to the practices, went to every game, and soon I learned my place on the team. It was a hierarchy of sorts: the coach was certainly the head of the team, and I at once went to great measures to observe how I could best assist her. I was there to serve the players as well, however, "Coach" made it quite clear that I wasn't there to be their slave. That didn't stop me from acquiring knowledge about them though. (Who liked gatoraid over water, which players wanted their towels on time outs). Serving them, as part of her team, was ultimately serving her. It was all done with the good of the team in mind.

By my fourth year (yes, I managed that team for 4 years), I was manager queen...I was their biggest fan by far. After three years observing the coach, I knew what she needed before she even asked. I could tell when she was searching for a pen, when she wanted another drink from the concession stands, and when she needed to summon me from the end of the bench on an errand. Towels were always neatly folded on the backs of the chairs, water-bottles lined up in my "Manager Box", I even swept the floor during the half-times with pride--I swept right on by those "too good to get their hands dirty" cheerleaders too. No, it wasn't glamorous, but I had my place and I liked it.

I am now part of another team and I find that my experience as Basketball Manager fits perfectly with my new position as a wife. However, signing up for this arrangement was a choice I made with great pleasure and excitement. Like the basketball team, there is definitely a hierarchy: my husband as the head and I am there to assist him as best as I can in order that he can coach and direct our family. I am not here to be my children's slave, yet I strive to serve them by teaching them, disciplining them, and knowing each one in order to meet their individual needs; for, this too, is serving my husband.

I have to ask myself, however, if I am doing my best as his "manager." Am I daily determining to be the best darn wife he has ever seen? I don't know, but I do know that I could be better. I will strive to do better. I will strive to attend with as focused attention to the needs and wants of my husband. Some would say this is out-dated and repressive: making "the woman" out to be "less than" the man. "Phooie," I say. I wasn't "less" of a person on the basketball team...that was simply the order of things. It would have been quite silly if I had pushed my head into the huddle and began giving out plays and strategies. It is just as silly to push my way into the role of family leader. Mess with God's order of the family and the game will soon be lost.

I love my role. Perhaps it is easy for me to embrace because of the lessons I learned back on the basketball team: lessons of humility, order, and the satisfaction of doing jobs which go unnoticed. I hear women say that staying at home doesn't give them enough self-worth...that they never get thanked. I feel sorry for those women. Serving my family gives me more worth than I ever found in the outside world.

The coach used to tell me that the team couldn't be run without me and that made me feel proud; but when my husband takes me in his arms and tells me with all sincerity that he "couldn't do it without me" I feel so much more than pride, I feel loved, cherished and respected. I feel like striving to know him more and anticipate his needs before he even speaks them. This is my place. This is my role in life: I am my husband's manager.

Related Tags: , , , , ,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You did a wonderful job of using an example we can all understand. It made me want to study and serve my husband with more "gusto" than ever.

I must say, your servant heart is fresh air in our world today.