A friend of mine sent me the following advice that I thought parents may enjoy.
If you’re a parent like me, you only want the best for your kids. When they play a sport (or sing in the choir, or play in the band, or act in the musical), we can’t wait to chime in with words of wisdom. I can think of many occasions when I encouraged, guided, complimented and tried to offer suggestions for improvement after watching my kids perform. Let’s face it, we all want the best for our kids and our parental instinct is to help, or so we think.
I recently read an article from an Australian newspaper that said the biggest thing that kids hate after their sport is the drive home with their parents. It’s the number one reason why they quit the sport they play. Wow. The constant reliving and overanalyzing of the game is turning our kids away, despite our best intentions.
Bruce E. Brown and Rob Miller have done more research on what kids want from their sport parents than anyone. They asked college athletes what their parents said that made them feel great and encourage them to play. The overwhelming response? These six words: “I love to watch you play.”
I often watch my children play sports just like you do and I’ve notice them looking for me during the game. At times, they’re doing everything they can do to get my attention and look for signs of approval, so much so that they often take their focus away from what they’re doing. I have now realized myself that these words can set them free. They can just play and enjoy every second…and so can I.
Those six simple words might be the secret to your child’s lifelong passion. So next time you’re about to offer up another observation from the sidelines, step back and say, “I love to watch you play.”