Parental Pep Talk

Background information: Josh and I do not compete. We are not athletic. We do not follow sports teams. There is not a drop of athletic-ness in our home. Our kids, in our home, have not been exposed to any kind of competitive spirit.

IMG_3443Last week: Johanna went to Jr. High Orientation. They talked about different teams that the students can try out for and Johanna decided she was going to do Volleyball. Well the kid has never played volleyball except in gym. So we told her we would practice with her. And try to find a summer camp for her to learn more about it.

Today: I was throwing the volleyball to Johanna and she was bumping and setting it back to me. It hurt her and she did not always make contact with the ball. She was getting a little frustrated so we took a break. I told her about a volleyball club she could try this summer, one hour for one week. She said “No, I just want to have fun playing volleyball”. I said to her “Sports teams in school are competitive and will practice often and have weekly games. They will expect you to know some of the rules of the game. If you want to try out in the fall, it would be a good idea to go to this camp”.

Cue the hysterics. She stormed inside and cried. I went to talk to her and she just kept saying “Why can’t I just have fun and do my best?! Why does it have to be about winning?!” We decided to go out for ice cream.

IMG_2633After ice cream both kids wanted to play volleyball again. I threw a few to Abby who ducked. She started bawling that she is HORRIBLE AT SPORTS! “I am horrible at everything, I will never be good at any sports! I will never be on a team!”

In the span of 2 hours, both of my kids had major self esteem meltdowns, and felt little to no value based on their ability to hit a ball with their arm. So I got down to business.

10369230_686298051406511_7784362530623388994_n“Girls, what do you think of me?”
“You’re awesome!”
“Why am I awesome?”
“Because you are happy”
“Am I successful?”
“But I don’t play sports so why do you think I am successful?”
“Because you are a good social worker and you like your job and your awesome and you have fun”
“So do you have to be good at sports to be happy or successful?”
“Abby, you are a great friend, you make people feel good about themselves, you have fun and you are very helpful. Would you rather make 100 baskets in a row or make someone feel good about themselves?”
“Feel good…”
“I would much rather have you be happy, loving, kind people who try their hardest and have fun doing lots of things than feel like you have to be successful in sports. And if you like sports, we will find a way for you to play them and have fun.”

Cue applause…


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