Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Growing Together

Our son, Kai, has been playing ball hockey for the past few months. I've faithfully attended his games and practices because I love watching.  Gary and I really enjoy playing sports (Gary played basketball in university) and both of us have a bit of a competitive side to us.  This competitive background, along with the experience of coaching, makes it a bit tricky navigating how much to encourage and challenge Kai.   I love seeing him learn positioning, teamwork and ball handling.  I don't want him to be the best; I want him to be his best.   It's a struggle for me when I see him running around the arena and I know that he could push harder– but maybe he's not sure he can.

We're both learning.  He's figuring out the game and how to be a better teammate. I'm learning about what kind of feedback I should provide him with to make him feel encouraged yet challenged.  Confident yet humble.  Together we are exploring how these post-game discussions should go.  Do I point out the great moves?  What about the things he could work on?  Can he recognize these areas himself?  Do we just celebrate that he had a fun time?

One of my favourite moments of the ball hockey season came last week.  We had our marriage class on the same night as his hockey game.  It was the first game that I would miss but fortunately my in-laws could take him.  I jokingly told him before leaving, "Don't score tonight!" as he had yet to score and was really wanting to– I didn't want to miss it!  Half way through our class, Gary got a text from his dad saying that he wasn't sure if he should tell me but our Kai Bear had scored his first goal.  I was so happy for him and yet sad that I wasn't there to see it and celebrate with him.

Early the next morning, Kai came to see me.  As we cuddled, he filled me in on the game and shared what his big moment was like.  Side by side we sat, smiling, celebrating, and savouring.  Even if I'm not sure that I'm saying the right things post-game, the fact that he wants to share it all with me sure means a lot.  Maybe helping him be his best is as simple as being there and taking an interest–letting him know that he matters and I care.

It's interesting entering a new stage of parenting and I look forward to learning more about myself and my kids as we go through it together.   If you have any words of advice on preteens (he's almost a preteen, right?!) and how to approach their activities and/or competition, I'd love to hear it!



  1. I have no advice really, but I feel the same about knowing how much to say and not say to encourage and challenge. We are a track and field family and our coach has made a rule no coaching from the sidelines so my praise and helpful suggestions are mostly on the 5 minute car ride home.

  2. Oh I can't wait for track and field to start (next year for my son). I also really try to keep my comments to the car ride home, too! Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone in this stage!

  3. I believe you are on the right track. I think it is O.K. to make the occasional suggestions, if he appreciates your feedback, but the fact that you are there and interested is the most important thing!

    1. Carol--I love when you chime in on parenting older kids!