A few weeks ago, I wrapped an event that held a whole new component for me:
And not just any parents. We’re talking hyper-competitive, overbearing, over thinking, call-you-16-times-a-day parents. Parents that make triathletes look like acquiescent kittens. Parents of – wait for it – 12 year old athletes. 12 year olds who are meant to be participating and enjoying a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 12 year olds who are not, let’s be perfectly clear, destined to be Olympians.
Parents who seem to have forgotten what it’s like for kids to have fun.
To be fair, I probably only remember the bad ones; after all, they are the ones who make the most noise, demand the most attention and make the most waves. The good ones step up, help out and just plain old, get-the-job-done. The good ones quietly support their kids, no matter what. A quick hug, a pep-talk when needed: those are the parents I strive to emulate.
What I witnessed still boggles my mind. A father who flew out private coaches for their child; a mom who broke down in tears over her child’s seemingly poor performance. I wanted to walk up and shake them and say:
GET SOME PERSPECTIVE.
Which brings me to my whole point. I think we’ve forgotten that sometimes, it’s completely ok to be “average”. Why do all our kids need to be the next great thing?
As a mom of 3, it’s taken me a while to come around to this point of view, but since then, it’s one I totally embrace.
You know what? I’m pretty certain we aren’t raising the next Cam McCaul or the next Katie Ledecky.
And that’s perfectly, 100% ok with me.
My kids are happy to be good at what they love, to dabble in lots of different things, be lazy when they are tired, be creative if the mood strikes, to climb trees and skip homework and to be kids.
Simple, average kids.
Will I discourage them if they show interest in high-performance anything (sport is just one facet of life, let’s be perfectly clear)?
No. I will support them to the best of my ability. Will I encourage them to try new things and get out of their comfort zones? Always.
To be clear: in no way do I discourage competition (wouldn’t that be ironic, given that my favourite thing to do is race). After all, it seems like everything is a competition in this house. And generally, it’s healthy competition.
However, I’ll only push so far. I want them to have the opportunities to find what they love; to make mistakes and to fail; to conquer fears and test their boundaries and to figure out that, sometimes, being average at whatever they try is ok.
And if being so-called average means being happy, healthy and satisfied, sign me up. I’m all in.