Marqise Lee didn’t play football in 2020. He could have played for Bill Belichick but he didn’t. Not because he was worn down or afraid of the grind—as an athlete and a football player, he’s in the prime of his career.
No, he opted out of this season because, like for so many of us, COVID-19 disrupted everything. Sports, like business, involves travel and time at the office, away from family. But with COVID-19 protocols, with limited access to family and friends on the road, this year would have been different. It would have been too much time away, more than he was willing to bear.
“People who know my background and where I came from, and things like that, I didn’t really have my pops in my life,” he told ESPN. “I never really had a real father figure besides coaches as I got older. This is my opportunity to be there for my daughter. I was hoping she could be there watching this season, but clearly she wasn’t going to be able to do that. I felt like it was important to just spend this year with her, and get back to it next year. Football is going to be there at the end of the day.”
We’ve talked before about giving what you didn’t get and Lee’s explanation—his decision—is a beautiful example of that. He was putting his family first. He was doing something his father didn’t do for him. He was drawing a line. He was deciding not to waste the most precious thing we have with our children: time.
Of course, every family has had to face the pandemic differently. Some of us are frontline workers. Others can’t afford to step off the career track. Others have had to—out of real health concerns—lock down even tighter than other families. But each of us should have seen the last year as a wake up call. Each of us had—and continues to have—an opportunity to use what had happened to grow as parents, to be what our children need.
Because however long this goes, however many twists the road to normalcy takes, they are going to need the best of us now more than ever.
“Thou Shall Put Family First” is the 2nd Commandment in The Stoic Parent: 10 Commandments For Becoming A Better Parent. If you want to take your parenting to the next level, The Stoic Parent course is 10 days of the most important things that you can do to become the best parent you can be. If you want to strengthen your connection with your family, sign up for The Stoic Parent today!