Last Saturday, I accompanied my four year-old son Keon to his first basketball camp. He was very excited prior to Saturday, counting down the days before he could lace up those basketball shoes and play ball with other young boys of his age so when we finally got to the venue, he couldn’t contain his happiness as soon as he saw the other kids going through the various drills.
We got him his jersey, registered, and he was immediately introduced to the coach who handled his age bracket. The joy in my son’s face was priceless. He ran, guarded his opponent, passed, and shot the ball multiple times. He was obviously tired but he really enjoyed the experience.
As a parent, there’s nothing more important than our children’s happiness that’s why it is very important that we support our children’s dreams and ambitions. Just like what I mentioned in a previous post, our presence is more important than presents.
When I was young, I was into basketball too. I played in the summer leagues in our subdivision as well as in school and apart from the accolades and the individual awards I earned during those years; the one thing that stood out for me was the undying support my parents gave me, especially my dad.
As many of you know by now, my dad used to work for a department store which required him to come home at 9PM. My games were usually held in the afternoon between 5PM to 8PM and I never really expected him to show up because I understand the demands of his job but it really made a big difference to see him standing in one corner, watching and cheering me on. That meant the world to me. He would even yell me instructions on the sideline whenever I ran close to where he was standing.
Just as we have our own dreams, our kids have their own too but unlike ours, theirs need the full support of their parents because they would require more encouragement for them to pursue their goals. Here are some of the things worth noting when it comes to our children’s dreams:
Let them pursue their dreams, not yours
Do you ever notice how a doctor’s children or lawyer for that matter, turns out to be doctors and lawyers too when they grow up?
Kids look up to their parents and some even grow up idolizing their moms and dads so much so that they follow their footsteps. But what if your child decides to become something different?
What if you are a family of engineers but he or she wants to become an artist?
Don’t let your child pursue your dreams for you. Let them decide the path they want to track and even if that path does not coincide with your expectations, be there for them. Support them. You wouldn’t want to be forced into something you do not really want wouldn’t you?
Do not get in the way of their dreams
When my nephew asked for his mother’s permission to play for the varsity team, my sister-in-law didn’t agree and her primary reason was that her son may get injured and may end up forgetting about school and focusing more on basketball. My wife talked to her and asked her to reconsider because the boy has potential and height. No one knows what the future may bring but without that chance, we’ll never really know how far the boy can go.
When your child decides to pursue something, you must bear in mind that nothing is written in stone yet. Nothing’s final. If she decides she wants to take up ballet classes during summer vacation, it doesn’t automatically mean that she will become a professional ballet dancer someday. Just give them a chance to pursue their goals because we will never know how good they can be if we don’t let them try.
Allow them to fail
As parents, we all have the tendency to be over-protective of our children because we don’t want them to get hurt or fail but we should trust them enough to make the right decisions for themselves and be accountable.
Yes, we would like them to succeed in whatever they choose to do but part of that requires us to let go of them from time to time and let them learn from the mistakes they will make.
Think of a child who is just starting to learn to walk on his own. As first-time parents, we’re all scared to let our child go and walk on his own because of our fear that he would get hurt or lose his balance but how does a baby learn to walk on his own anyways? By picking himself up everytime he falls and continuing to learn how to balance himself until such time when he can already walk without our help. It’s pretty much the same.
If your kid wants to learn the piano, let him or her be. He or she will decide sooner or later if piano is something they can pursue or if it is difficult enough that he or she will just try their hand at cooking. Let them learn through failure.
Share their enthusiasm
Just this past summer, my daughter Kylie joined a volleyball camp where some of the collegiate players she looked up to served as instructors. Kylie wasn’t the talkative type. She’s very shy and only talks to people close to her but when it comes to the topic of volleyball, she can talk all day.
She knows almost all the players from the different schools. She knows their history, the position they played as well as their strengths and weaknesses so when the opportunity for a summer volleyball camp came around, I didn’t think twice in enrolling her.
I wanted her to keep that enthusiasm high so I researched some of the players she talked about often. I asked her about them and she told me stories I didn’t know about these players. I drove her to camp every Saturday and told her godfather to give her a volleyball and knee pads as gift for her birthday so she can use them.
It’s one thing to show your children you support them. It’s another when they can see how you share their enthusiasm and that you’re going out of your way to have a part in their dream or goal.
Encourage them to excel in their chosen path
Supporting your child’s dreams is just part of your responsibility as a parent but it shouldn’t end there. You should also encourage them to excel in their chosen field. Let them know that they are special and one-of-a-kind and to not settle for mediocre especially if they are passionate for what they do.
One of the best singers the Philippines produced is Regine Velasquez. She is considered one of the top vocal artists of her generation because of her powerful voice that has become her trademark. She also credits her late father for getting her where she is right now because of the support and encouragement he gave her when she was just an up-and-comer.
Her story has been part of pop culture here in the Philippines. It was said that her father immersed her in neck-deep water while vocalizing when she was young. Her father saw potential in her at a young age that he tried his best to take care of this potential and by training her in the method mentioned above. It was even said that she only got to know the taste of ice cream when she was already in her teens.
We all want what’s best for our children and nothing can make us happier than to see them succeed in life someday but for that to happen, they need our help, our support, our guidance and understanding.
Have you been supportive of your children’s choices? How do you show them your support?
I would love to hear from you by leaving your comments and feedbacks below.
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