If your kids are in an extracurricular activity there’s probably no doubt that you have encountered the hyper-active, controlling dad that knows everything, constantly criticizes the coach or teacher and is constantly giving advice. You think to yourself, man, that guy gets it. I want to be like him.
But then after a while, you observe his behavior and it seems like he says one thing and behaves differently. I’ve been observing a dad from one of our child’s athletic clubs for a year now. He says all the right things but when it comes to competition and the need to let kids be kids, he then puts his own child in situations that don’t match the things he says. It’s drove me crazy because I couldn’t pinpoint why someone would behave like this.
And over the last few weeks, I’ve learned why.
We want our children to be special because it makes us feel special. We want to raise the next Nobel Price winner or Olympic Gold Medal winner that we push them to excel at one activity or another.
We want the surge we get from announcing to the world that our child got straight As or is the star athlete on his team. When our children are young, they interpret this and strive to meet our expectations and fill our ego.
Validating ourselves through the success of our children. Say that aloud. How silly does that sound? We compare them to their peers. Ask ourselves are they doing better or worse than the other kids in their class. We lack discipline and are impatient to maximize our children’s potential.
Children aren’t born with these worldly concerns. We teach our children that their success in life depends on their performance and guess what gets lost… childhood. Children learn that who they are, as they are, isn’t good enough in the adult world.
Anxiety is all around us. Everyone is rushing toward the future. We have very little reverence for the present. Let’s stop making decisions because you want to feel special.