The tee is set-up, the dimpled surface of the golf ball balanced atop. The weight of the driver and iron pull straight down as gravity lengthens the arm muscles . After one last look at the rolling green, eyes alight on the ball. The golfer settles into the stance, arms drawn back; pendulum ready.
It is all set up. Take the swing!
As a parent it is moments like these that test my mettle. I am the tiger mom in the cage clawing to get out. It is all I can do not to shout in the still air to whack that darn ball. It’s right there! The psycho within comes to the surface; the parent pushing for the best. You would think I would have conquered this beast but it returns again and again. I must constantly remind myself.
- The preferred swim coach who made time for private lessons for my sons and tried to revive their spirit after three years of competitive swim with ineffective coaches. By then it was too late; their love for the sport gone.
- The opportunities that music brings; the camaraderie, the harmony of sound creating something beautiful. Complacency made my sons lose sight that all things require work and practice. You do not get a free lunch by sitting in a chair blowing through a horn.
- The chance to improve a golf game on a team with peers and great teachers. To learn and enjoy an activity for a lifetime. To discover strategies to self-improve as well as a way to network. If the kid wants this he will seek it; to make it fit into his schedule.
It is extremely difficult to rein this psycho beast within. In desperation, after three years of swim, I allowed the coach to guide my boys and they flourished. But you cannot instill a love for something they no longer enjoyed.
When recently told how competitive it is for a chair in our high school’s prestigious band program my immediate reaction was to find music teachers which, both the hubs and son felt, were unnecessary. If you want it, why not increase your odds? I was reminded of my fellow GATE parents who place their children with tutors to be two years advanced, particularly in math and science for boys, to improve their chances of Ivy League school acceptance.
I casually asked my son about the golf team try-outs being held at school; the information shared by my dear friend whose desire for her son are similar to ours. This son, nonplussed, continued with his homework. Surprisingly it was the hubs who entered this conversation, encouraging the boy to get information and give it a try. Unfortunately, the try-out conflicts with jazz band; his true love. And it conflicts ONLY if he makes the cut. The hubs wanted him to try-out for the experience; to not miss a great opportunity.
You can set up your children with the best teachers, tutors, coaches with all that money can buy. But you cannot instill talent, desire or motivation. That all has to come from within; from their hearts.
These are the days I rage in my cage. Missed opportunities. But it is not my choice to make. And so I rant silently; the hubs and blog my only sounding board. For the only child who always had to fight her way, alone, I had vowed as a parent to give my sons all the opportunities I wished I had had. And so I check my baggage. There is no sense of accomplishment unless you achieve it on your own. If it is handed to you, is it really yours? My boys’ success should not be measured by how I define it. In fact, it has taken me this long to realize it should not be measured. AT. ALL.
I grapple to accept this fact. I must not define who they are by what I want them to be; what their peers, fellow parents or society consider popular. I can recite this and rephrase it and write it every day. It’s easy to blame the child with laziness, complacency. But it is I, the parent, who must acknowledge that my way of thinking is faulty. For though mentally I know this; it is quite another to do this in practice. In every situation. Every. Day.
The tiger mom needs to stop playing caddy. I am grateful for the three moms who reined in the psycho last eve. The pendulum is starting to settle into simple harmonic motion.