May 8, 2015

Fans or Coaches

Sorry for the lack of activity on the blog over this last week. While I love blogging, digital life is not close to the first priority for me. This week in particular has been quite full. My 13 yo. daughter is in the school musical (Which is an amazing production!). My 11 yo. son is playing flag football (They're undefeated!). Brooke–of course–has been in charge of a lot related to the school musical. So most nights this week have been seen all of us getting home pretty late after practices, building and painting sets, etc. I used to be the only one in this house with a nutty schedule. That's no longer the case.

Being a parent of a teenager (and another soon-to-be-often-already-acts-like-a-teenager) is a different kind of busy. I've had friends talk about this but Brooke and I are only now beginning to experience it. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't trade it for anything... but it's busy! You feel like you're always taking someone somewhere. You're kids are staying up later than they ever did before (doing homework, hanging out on weekends with friends, or simply getting home late from practices, performances, etc.) But, doggonit, I love seeing them flourish, learning to manage their schedules and discover their passions!

I didn't actually want to write about that. I wanted to offer something I've been pondering for a few weeks. All metaphors break down. This one isn't perfect but it's what Brooke and I have thinking about a bit...

I think often times, we parents think we're supposed to be our kids' coaches... but I think we're supposed to be fans.

Not fair weather fans. Rather, those crazy football fans that paint their chests and go to games shirtless no matter how cold it is. The kind of fans that root for their team no matter if they win or lose. The kind of fans that will critique, some times harshly, their team because they love them so much. But it in the end, they will love them and root for them no matter what happens.

The thing about thinking we're coaches is that there's no clear line of distinction between us and them. We hover. We project our success and failure upon them. It's a hard habit to kick (I'm trying to... it's hard!). If you don't stop now, they'll soon rebel against it as teens or simply avoid you in adulthood.

Sometimes kids want us to be their coaches. But in the end, they need fans–crazy, shirtless in below freezing weather, faithful fans. That kind of fandom is a sport in and of itself. I've never been that kind of fan but its the kind of fan that makes an athlete go further, try harder.

For a long time, we know our kids' capacity and potential way more than they do. So be their fan! That's what I want to do better at, day after day.

Who knows. I could be wrong. I've got (pre) teens. That's as far as I've got so far. But this is what I'm working with for the time being.

I'd love to read your thoughts!

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