“I want my kid to be able to choose what they want to do and try everything because I didn’t have that option when I was younger.”
“I” in this situation is a father or mother with a degree or career or a career involving their degree with a happy home, a happy family, and a strong relationship with their significant other. Their blue-collar parents are still working and are just as happy as they’ve always been, budgeting, paying their bills on time, putting a few dollars in the bank and getting excited about their vacation next summer to some local beach for a week.
YOU ARE HAPPY NOW because your parents told you NO. They didn’t have the money to pay for everything and you didn’t get to do everything. But you were a happy kid. You rode your bike, played Nintendo, had to come in when the streetlights came on, avoided the neighborhood bully, and probably played one sport or activity. You didn’t get the toys you wanted. You didn’t get a new bike, you probably rode your sister’s old one.
That’s why you’re happy – you were forced to commit to the things you had available to you. Now, you have the money and some extra time to devote to your kids and give them the life you had and you want them to do EVERYTHING.
Now I’m going to get opinionated. You can tell me I’m wrong or you can become triggered by this next part if you want to, but I’ve been working with kids for more than half of my life and I see this every day…
KIDS DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY WANT.
They will search for more and more different things to do. When kids stop doing one thing, they will always search for something else – mostly motivated by what their friends are doing or what they see on TV and are inspired to do.
Kids won’t look back at the 15 minutes they played soccer when they were 6 and say, “My mom enrolled me in a soccer program and I learned team spirit.” They will get that only if their coach was amazing and they played soccer for a long period of time or had a LIFE CHANGING season when their brains could understand team dynamics and all of the rules of the games.
Kids won’t look back when they are 18 at the time they did karate when they were 10 for a few months and say, “Breaking boards helped me understand that brute strength doesn’t always get the job done, it’s proper technique, focus, and commitment.”
You have to influence their decision to stick with something – not MAKE them do something, not FORCE them to do something, and not be FRUSTRATED by them.
I know people who have no fun activities they can call their own. I know tons of people who haven’t stuck with an activity for longer than a month or two. In their real life, they are the same way. They WISH ABOUT stuff, they don’t SET A GOAL to achieve things.
Set your kids up on the right path (I’m not talking about the destination, it’s the JOURNEY).
If you want your kids to try new things, don’t forget about the other things that can help them become better human beings. Don’t forget about those amazing coaches that help raise your kids up WITH you.
Is your child’s success worth a little extra running around in the car?
Is your child’s success worth quick rush home from work to pick them up and get them to something that’s going to make them happier people?
Is your child growing up with good friends and mentors worth the trouble?
What is a lifelong ally worth to you?
If you’re stuck and need help coaching your kid or helping them get better at the sport they are participating in, try this link to check out some focus and goal setting training. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about being consistent.