Home base. That is where it all starts. We teach kids how to be. We tell them who they are. You should be this and you should be that. We show them with our actions what is important.
I am sitting here at a swim meet surrounded by parents. They are obsessed with all the wrong things. We shove things down our kids throats and when they don’t measure up they are left feeling like they are not good enough. I get it, sports are important. They teach us about discipline and hard work and how to stay dedicated and motivated through the most difficult physical and mental challenges. My question is this? Have we started to put too much time, effort and emphasis on sports? Have we lost all the lessons somewhere in our obsession to start kids younger, have them practice more days and hours and be the only thing we, the parents, think and talk about? You should hear these conversations. The parents are so intertwined into their kids swimming that in the hour I’ve been sitting here, that is the only topic of conversation. ” My kid thinks I am on his back too much’, “Well, kids need that. He will thank you for that someday”. Really? Have these parents ever considered that the kids don’t want to talk about their sport in every conversation? Maybe these kids want to swim because they enjoy being in the water and they want it to be somewhat of a place to escape from this sometime difficult world. Have they forgotten that this sport does not define who their child is? That these kids are more than their sport and it is a small part of their life and not their whole life? I feel like turning around and saying, please can you just give it a rest? How many minutes can you spend talking about how much more relaxed you’d like your kid to be today. How the hell can these kids relax when they know the rest of the day for their family depends on the time that will soon appear on the timer clock? It’s hard to listen to and it’s equally difficult to watch. I was once one of those parents. I have had those same conversations and spent endless waking hours doing math and figuring out how my daughter could drop that extra half of second. Does it really matter? In the whole picture of life, is the time part worth that much time and effort? How about we let the kids swim and walk away knowing they did the best they could and accept how they do in sports is not in our control. How about letting the sport belong to our kid and just being there to watch and be there for support. What the hell has happened to that?
Are we focused on the wrong things? You be the judge, but first look around at that people around you and be honest about the quality of lives today, especially family life. Is it about family mealtimes and getting together to enjoy each other’s company or has it become something transparent and shallow? I guess you’ll have to decide for yourself.