No matter how much inspiration I drew from Nancy Greene and Barbara Cochran and no matter how hard I was willing to work, the closest I’ll ever get to becoming an Olympic skier is that I was named for one. I love the sport but am simply not talented or brave enough to compete in that arena.
And I’m not alone. Though wildly successful in other areas, my Dad never got to pitch in a World Series and my adult son may be approaching the day he stops waiting for the Boston Bruins to call him for his Stanley Cup appearance.
Let’s face it: we’re not all created with identical talents. It is NOT true that you can “do anything you want as long as you work hard enough” and I don’t think it’s fair to pass that on to our children.
Am I making excuses for my family and our athletic “failures”? I don’t think so. I’m just relaying facts: despite desire, love of sport, well-developed work ethics and vivid imagining we simply lack the requisite natural ability.
Yet those early sports-related passions are hardly a waste: they’ve got some great building blocks. Olympic figure skating champ Peggy Fleming put it well when she said “I think exercise tests us in so many ways, our skills, our hearts, our ability to bounce back after setbacks.”
So your what if your little one has a passion in an area that doesn’t match aptitude or opportunity? What of the kiddo who dreams of surfing but lives in the mountains? The one who yearns to try rock climbing and lives where it’s flat? What then?
What about celebrating the strengths that come from trying? The knowledge and learning that can come from being an informed fan? A lifetime love and understanding of a sport or activity? Or small ways that they could bring some aspect of that interest to life?
How do parents define success and what DO kids need to succeed? Get your electronic copy of What Kids Need to Succeed: Four Foundations of Adult Achievement for only $1.00 by clicking this link and entering the coupon code NA64P. Take your place in this important conversation.