Whilst watching some of the London Olympic highlights I noticed one of our Aussie female swimmers crying her little eyes out because she had not won gold. The point is she trained hard, she was selected for the Olympic team, which is an amazing achievement in itself! Then she got to the London Olympics competed and won silver. Nothing to be sniffed at I would have thought but she looked heartbroken.
It got me thinking about how much pressure these kids must be under to achieve. We tell our kids to go out there and do their best. To give it everything they've got and she did. Her behaviour would indicate that she had failed and she had won silver.
So how hard should we push our kids?? If you've ever seen the show toddlers and tiara's you'll know what it looks like to cross the line. Some of those parents look like they are living vicariously through their children's wins. If you get a chance watch the Tom Hanks video I have linked to this post for you. This is a joke but unfortunately it is based heavily on others reality. Which is very, very sad.
I have a friend who once complained (well alright more than once but who wouldn't?) to me about driving her son around to ice hockey matches, training and other ice hockey related crap. Then she said "I shouldn't complain, what if he turns out to be great at this?! Do you think Ian Thorpe's mum complained about driving him to swimming practice at 4am most mornings and look at him!" On thinking about it... she probably did. Complain, I mean. It is a lot to give of yourself to take such a big chunk out of your life to help someone else achieve their dreams. And how many kids don't actually make it in their chosen sport or activity anyway?? My friend's son went on to other things and never did achieve anything of national recognition in ice hockey. But is that the only reason we do it?? What are the reasons to push?? Because they might be great at it? Because they love it? Because you want them to get out and participate? Because everyone else in the family did it or does it? Because you wanted to do it but you weren't good enough??
You've probably seen that ad on TV where mum's from all over the world are waking their children up really early to drag them to some type of training for a variety of different sports. Then you see the child grown, competing in the Olympics and their mother crying in the stands watching them. Whilst this is a nice ad and it even gets me a little misty whilst thinking perhaps I should be pushing my kids a little harder at something, I'm just not sure what. What is it we are trying to achieve by pushing our kids to achieve?? Where do we draw the line and how hard do we push them to get there?
I don't have an answer but it's certainly something to think about.