Even before baby J was born, I thought about what he might want to do with his life. He was a pretty strong kicker, so I thought “maybe he will be in the NFL or play professional soccer.” Then my love of science and literature took over and I thought “well maybe he will be an astrophysicist or an author.” Regardless of what he decides to be, it is me and my husband’s responsibility to cultivate whatever he is interested in.
Growing up, I played the violin. I remember going home the second day of 4th grade and telling my mom that I wanted to play. So she said “okay” and we went and bought a violin. I took class at school, but then as I got more serious, she paid for tutors. My promise to her: that I would do my best. And that’s what I did: I played in competitions, practiced until my fingers hurt, and never missed a tutoring appointment. I played until I graduated high school and then like that I quit. I haven’t picked up my violin since. To this day, my mom has never asked me why I quit. I guess she just assumed college, or that I was “burnt out,” both are right, and to this day I am still thankful that she never asked.
Which brings me to my subject about the Olympics. I think as a parent, you dream a bigger dream for your children then you ever did for yourself. So whenever they show a beaming (or sometimes screaming) parent in the stands, I wonder how they feel to have a child competing with the best in the world. It has to be both exhilarating and nerve-racking at the same time. Especially when many parents have relocated and/or spend thousands to ensure that their child has the best trainers.
So my question to them is how did they know that this is what their child REALLY REALLY wanted to do. You have to be pretty darn sure that this is what they want in order to quit your job, pack up, and relocate. Did their child just not want to do anything else? Did they push their child in that direction? Or are they all just natural-born hippies?
I ask because I am a “pusher.” I push myself to be better, I pushed my students to dream, and I know for a fact that I will push my son, especially if it is something that he loves. I guess that I just want to be sure. However, like most things with parenting, you won’t know what to do until it actually happens to you.