Have you ever taken the time to sit back and really think how fortunate you are as a parent to be able to share your child’s athletic experiences with them? Do you appreciate how such moments can actually bring the family together? Do you know just how excited your kids get knowing that we are watching them play?
I know that, when you are going through the experience, it is sometimes hard to stop to realize just how fortunate you are to be given these years with your kids.
Someday you will look back at these years, and hopefully in a positive way. I know I have.
My wife and I were blessed with three great kids. We can look back with great joy and satisfaction knowing how much they got to enjoy their childhood, both in sports and in other ways. Were there ups and downs? Most definitely. But we were able to help them overcome their disappointments and keep them grounded through their accomplishments.
If I were to look back at my own experiences, not only as a professional soccer player for 10 years but also as a parent of three successful kids, and share with other families the secret to their success. I would have to say that it was ultimately the result of their efforts, but that it definitly came with our guidance.
This meant something different for each one of our kids.
For Taylor (my oldest and former New England Revolution forward and Major League Soccer MVP), it meant sports as the main focus in everything he did. He was a great student, but playing a sport professionally was his goal. His focus, since he was very young, was always around a ball. It started with a balloon that kept him occupied. He quickly moved to soccer, baseball, basketball, hockey, football and golf. It really didn’t matter as long as he could be doing something with a ball (or puck).
James, a Stanford University grad, played professional soccer for two years. He is three years younger than Taylor. A great athlete in his own right, he has a variety of different interests besides athletics. He followed his older brother and played all of the same sports, but always wanted to experience other things. It could have been fishing, camping or attending lectures by dignitaries. For whatever reasons, his interests took him other places.
My youngest, daughter Alexandra (University of Richmond and St. Louis University grad and athlete), was given the gift of athletic ability just like her brothers. She followed this gift all the way through college and enjoyed playing soccer, softball, field hockey, and basketball as well. As a young girl, she had many interests outside of athletics. She loves her animals, she loves her fashion and she loves the outside. Theses interests have continued as young adult.
Appreciating the gift of sports
Realizing that given the gift of athletics is just that, a gift. This gift might just mean being a professional athlete. It more than likely will only mean enjoying a childhood of athletics and nothing-more. It might mean your child with work in finance. It could even mean your child could work in the fashion industry. Every one of our kids has been given a gift. Understanding and recognizing what this gift is happens by observing and listening to our kids even when they are not saying anything.
If we realize it is their childhood, we as family will enjoy it wherever it takes us.
How lucky we are to be able to nurture our kids and share with them their childhood.