Cross Country Blues

As regular readers of this blog know, I like to talk about parenting, teach about parenting, and learn from other parents.  I find great satisfaction in becoming a better parent and helping others become better as well.  Please pardon me though because for today’s blog, I have to construct a couple of levels to the soap box.  A lesson was reinforced to me last night that I hope others can learn.  Allow me to explain.

My oldest child participates on a cross country team for the YMCA.  He was recruited by the coach and seems to like it.  While cross country isn’t my favorite sport, the rule has always been for my children to be active.  What they do is up to them.

During tonight’s practice, there were two children crying while running.  I understand pushing children to become better at what they are doing but I just don’t get why a child needs to be pushed that far.  To me, all sports should be used for the purpose of fitness, promoting competition, building confidence, and learning how to work with a team.  Oh, and I forgot the most important reason for sports.  It’s a thing I like to call HAVING FUN!

In Tantrums, Troubles, and Treasures, there is an extensive section on how sports are positive for many walks of life (even outside of sports).  There are so many sports from which children can choose.  Why push a kid to tears when they are in a sport they don’t enjoy?  What is a parent trying to get out of the sport?  In last night’s case, it was completely the parents’ fault.  The cross country coach is competitive but has a laid back personality.  The parents of the children crying wouldn’t let them stop running.

For all of my readers, let me leave you with this.  Sports are like food.  There are some things children like and others they don’t care for.  To this day, you won’t catch me eating a mushroom for some of the same reasons you won’t catch me driving my child to tears in a sporting event.  If they don’t like it then they don’t like it.  Children are individuals and they will find their passion in a sport (even if it’s only for recreation) over time.

Since I referenced my book once, how about I do it one more time?  At the end of every chapter, there is an assignment which is short but meant to reinforce what was taught. Therefore, here is your assignment.  Ask your child over the weekend what sport they would like to play and go play it with them.  You may totally stink at the sport but your child will appreciate the time you are spending with them.

My next post will be on Tuesday.  Until then, all my best to you and the ones you love. (Now, how I do climb down from this soap box anyway?)

Minnesota state meeting – Cross Country

This spot can be fun if parents are not driving their children to tears!

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6 comments

  1. Becky Jane says:

    Little League baseball was a big thing in the town I grew up in, but it got to be such a joke the way the parents and coaches treated the kids. It was obvious that the kids were being forced to fulfill the adults dreams. Little league lost all it fun. My wise parents finally withdrew my brothers participation, because of the way he was being treated. Now he's a adult and is active in his city's sports programs being an example of a good way to enjoy the sport!

  2. Crying while running? Oh my. If I were to run at all, I would probably cry too.

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  4. I totally agree with you. My boys were pushed so hard they wanted nothing to do with sports from about age 11 to now (20) They are just now appreciating exercising again.

  5. Evelyn says:

    Great post. I burned out of my sport (swimming) by age 15. It wasn't my parents who burned me out, it was the coaches pushing just a bit farther. Which while good in many ways, I had one coach during my swim years who pushed you to exhaustion, and heckled you. That would have me end up in tears more from frustration and embarassment.
    Had I not been pushed too far, I may have been thinking clearly about taking my 4 yr ride to swim, and not turn it down. My parents supported my decision-it is my sport and my reasoning sounded good-concentrating on studies.
    Funny, being in a sport made me more disciplined in my studies, than being out of the sport did.

    Later when I became a swim teacher and then swim team coach, I used the lessons from my past, both personal, and those I witnessed of my teammates and their parents, to educate and try to balance these young athletes.

  6. This makes me furious. At first I thought it was the coach who was making them tear up and I was mad, but it's the parents? That's just nuts. These parents are probably making their kids run because they didn't make the team when they were their age. They should be ashamed of themselves. That's child abuse.