Is it helping or hurting?
“Lord, help me be a good parent. Help me do the right thing.” I believe this is a prayer every person prays when they find out they are going to become a parent. We want what is best for our children. We want them to have things we never did. We want to make sure their dreams come true, even if we have to do it ourselves.
I have had the privilege of coaching basketball and working with some very amazing players and coaches. I remember I was asked to coach Jr. Jazz when my children were young. I don’t care what age or skill level I get to work with; I just love the game.
One young player stands out in my mind. She was one of the best I had seen in my career right up until her dad would walk in the gym. The first time it happened, I didn’t know what was going on. I was watching her bring the ball down and make incredible passes to the open player. She would use both sides of the floor. She kept her head up to see what her teammates were doing and where they were moving. I was excited and impressed.
All of a sudden she started bringing it down and firing off a three pointer. If she had been open or made some, I would have been in approval. But she wasn’t. She was off balance and rushing her shots. Then I noticed a shift in the gym. I heard a gentleman giving her advice from the sidelines.
He was telling her every move to make and how to make it. “Keep your head up.” “Use your left hand.” “Shoot the ball.” “Hustle back.” “You have to be quicker.” “Stay low.” “Keep your knees bent.” I could go on but you get the picture. We were down 15 points in the blink of an eye. I called a time out and brought the team over. Told them to relax and run the plays.
It was working we were gaining ground. Then I heard him again and realized I didn’t have a team problem, I had a parent problem. He wanted his daughter to be successful so badly he was stealing it from her with his “coaching.”
As a parent, I find it hard knowing when to step in and when to let it ride. When children are young, the price tag for mistakes is low. As they grow, the price goes up. Let me give you an example. When my son was about three, he was running down the side walk with his shoe untied. I told him he might want to tie his shoe because he might trip and fall. About five minutes later, that is what happened. He stepped on his shoe lace and tripped himself. As I was cleaning up his bloody knees, I asked him what had happened. He told me he had tripped. I asked him what he had learned. “To tie my shoe,” he said.
He had heard me, but he had to discover it for himself. I gave him advice, but he made the decision. I wanted him to learn how to listen to others but make his own decisions. It has served him well so far. He stands up for what he believes in and knows what he wants.
If you are constantly telling your children what to do, they don’t learn how to problem solve. They learn to look to others to solve mistakes for them. They lose confidence in themselves and shrink back in fear. They learn to let others run their life. They give their power away and become average.
I spoke with the father at my basketball game after we had finished playing. I explained what a great player his daughter was and how she fell apart when he walked in. I told him, “Don’t take my word for it. Watch her the next time we play.” He did and he realized he had some changes to make. By the end of the season, he was able to watch the game from the stands and see his daughter excel. It was a blessing, and I am so glad I got to share in it.
Take some time today and figure out where you are holding on to tightly. Let me know if you need someone to talk to. I’m here.
Have an incredible day,