Sport parents have a lot to keep up with these days as they guide their kids through the youth sports experience. Exposing kids to different sports, working with coaches, traveling to practices and games, and teaching life skills are just a few examples of common issues tasked to sports parents. In addition to the practical aspects relating to sport participation, there is a deeper question to pursue — specifically, where do my child’s interests and talents best match?
Examining passion & the human experience
Have you ever noticed that there are things we do in life that we are good at doing, yet don’t enjoy doing? Interestingly, there are also things we do in life that we aren’t very good at doing, yet really enjoy. For example, some kids who play baseball are good at playing baseball, yet not very interested in the sport. On the other hand, there are also kids who aren’t very good baseball players, yet can’t stop thinking about playing (and probably sleep with their baseball glove!). Of course, the best scenario is when a kid loves baseball and also has talents that allow him or her to play baseball well.
When it comes to youth sports, parents will need to make decisions about how to shape the youth sport experience — do you take the time to discover your child’s passion and set up a sport schedule that matches, or simply put your child in sports he or she plays well, even if there is barely any interest in those sports? The question about sport selection is just one example of matching passion with activities, as similar decisions should be made about other life endeavors, like math, drawing, computer coding, writing, and music as a few examples.
Why it makes sense for parents to explore passion & interest
While it may be challenging, it makes a lot of sense for parents to tune in and help their kids devote as much time and effort to life experiences they are interested in, while steering them out of other experiences they don’t enjoy (sometimes even when they are good at it). Often our best performances and abilities occur because we have found, sometimes by chance, life experiences we greatly enjoy devoting time to, and as a result become good at doing the activity. Parlay this fit into a vocational career and you might use the saying “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” The point is that while it might take some effort, it’s generally a good move to work at aligning kids up with sports and other activities that best match their interests, and thereby allow them the best chance for optimal life performances.
Pursuing life experiences we are passionate about is a very worthwhile effort, and it is my belief that we all have things we are passionate about doing (even if it takes some time to make these discoveries). For parents, this means being patient, providing different life opportunities, and paying close attention to both verbal and non-verbal feedback from kids. Passion followed by opportunity often puts kids in terrific positions to succeed, making the efforts put forth by parents to create this kind of paradigm very well worth their time.