I had a realization. Some parents really care A LOT about how their kids perform.
I know this isn’t a grand revelation–I’ve heard of Tiger Moms and Helicopter Parents and Stage Moms, etc., but I’ve been going along in my own little world just trying to keep the kids alive, have a self identity and a good marriage so I haven’t really had the opportunity to see it in action.
Until last week. At the rec center tennis camp. I put my kid in summer rec center camps because I was scared to be alone with her all day all summer. Plus add in the crazy little one and I’m outnumbered. No way.
So she did tiny-tot beginner tennis camp last week. This was a thirty-minute-a-day “camp” for four total days. Hardly what I’d call professional tennis training.
I’d watch Sofia try and tap into her hand eye coordination, realizing that, like her parents, it’s highly likely that she’ll get academic scholarships over athletic ones. Sometimes she’d connect the racket with the ball, and the other 50% of the time she’d miss, and pirouette with her racket like the point of the move was actually to twirl and the ball was a footnote in her actions. She was a clown and I liked her flair, and most importantly to me she seemed to be having fun.
Three of the four kids in the class were similar in skill to Sofia and one little guy was pretty good. Yet I realized at the end of the class, I was the only one who didn’t care that Sofia wasn’t good at tennis. The other parents seemed genuinely distressed and distraught, which is a puzzle to me: what did they expect would happen in 30 minutes over four days for $24?
Don’t get me wrong–if my kid was the best in her class I’d make sure everyone knew she was my future tennis star, but the fact that she is probably a regular old goofy five year-old makes me just as happy. The last thing I want is for my kid to be incapable of having fun, because she is worried too much about being the best. The same goes for me.
How my kid performs does not directly reflect my worth as a parent. How my kid handles how she performs does.
Chillax people. It’s just tiny tots tennis camp. Your kid will not be a crack whore or car salesman if they have to retake the same level next week. Promise.