The kids had a swim meet this weekend. It wasn’t their first, but it was their favourite to date. Shorter distances, candy at the finish lines, fun atmosphere.
In the car there, they all admitted to feeling nervous butterflies, and I stayed quiet and let them talk through it… “once you jump in, it gets easier and I’m not nervous anymore.”
I spend the meet wandering the deck and cheering. I’ve discovered that I cannot stand the screeching sound of my cheer voice, and want to tell myself to shut up. But I love cheering on my kids, so I don’t.
The kids don’t win – not by a long shot. But I’m proud of the fact that this doesn’t seem to bother them. This doesn’t mean they aren’t trying their hardest; they are, for the most part. Often times, they come over to me, dripping and smiling, and say “I didn’t come last! Can I have a snack?”
As we drove home, Will asked if we could start swimming together, before school. He wants to improve and hit some qualifying times, move up to the next level.
Here’s where walking the fine line comes in.
Of course I’ll take him swimming. I’ll impart what little swim knowledge I have (it’s easy to repeat what I’ve been told for years. Easier than actually doing it, anyway).
How to help him improve without becoming *that* parent? I am loathe to step on coaches toes. Where does giving the odd tip end and become fake coaching? Do I seek out a few extra coaching sessions, or is that “buying speed?” I want to encourage but not be overbearing. Am I unconsciously pushing them to do something just because I like it? Or do they actually want to it? If they quit, is it my fault? My brain is melting.
Clearly, I am overthinking this in a big way.
Parents out there, what say you? How do you handle your kids competitive endeavours?
Maybe I’ll give it some more thought during today’s swim practice.