Yesterday, I cringed as I watched my 7 year-old son play ball hockey with his team. My inside voice yelled, “Come on Mik! Hustle!” But it’s not cool to yell at kids’ games. Or is it? Anyways I didn’t. I smiled instead. At least he was having fun and that’s all that mattered, right? Glad we are on the same page here.
Mikhail is very fast for his age and is very energetic. He knows the game of hockey and play it very well. Unfortunately, from watching him play, you can’t tell. At his games, he is a shadow of the Mikhail who plays with me and his brothers on our hardwood floors. Cause for a frustration? Maybe even a teeny-weeny bit? You think? No? So I could and should never ever get frustrated with his lackluster performance? As long as he is having fun. Did I nail it there?
The first few games, I told him what any good Dad worth his salt would say. “Son, you were not too bad out there.” After another lopsided loss I even tried to lessen the impact. “That team was really good, Mik.” His response got me. “It’s not how good they were, It’s how bad we are.” What could I say to that? Sounded like he had fun out there at least. Even though he sounded grumpy.
As a parent, I realize that it’s all about fun at that age but if I know that he’s not playing up to his capabilities, I find it hard to not point it out to him. I mean it’s good that he’s having fun and all but what if I praise him for having fun and then at 16 years old, he’s on the ice still ‘having fun’? When the coach yells at him to pull up his socks, would he reply, “But it’s all about having fun, coach! Daddy said that!” Catch my drift?
Maybe to an extent we should let them know a bit of the truth. Son, you are under performing. Daddy drives 45 minutes across town after work three times a day. If it’s all about fun son, then at least act like you are having lots of it. Granted, his team does suck but his team mates look like they are having fun and I actually do enjoy going to his games. In fact, lackadaisical or not, I love seeing the little guy out there. That’s my boy! Go Mik! Score one for Daddy! Oh well, maybe next time…