I am not one of those people who believes “your parents did the best they could.” Therefore when I decided to have kids, the bar was set pretty high. For the most part, I feel pretty good about how I’ve been as a parent. But the other day, my son made me doubt myself and empathize with my own parents.
Ry just returned from a sports themed birthday party. He came home feeling excited about football because people noticed how well he threw a spiral. So he wanted to go to the park and show me. I was quite impressed. For a 6 year old, he looked very good to me. He however was tired and focused on his difficulty catching and how other kids are better at baseball than he is.
I kept trying to point out how well I thought he played in a variety of sports, but he was not in place to hear any of it. He felt bad and wanted me to get it.
And I started to doubt myself. I thought it was great we could expose him to a variety of sports through play and classes. In fact, this was not something I had growing up and wished I had. When I realized I wanted him to feel happy and excited about all he could do at six, I failed to realize this was not the standard he was applying. In his six year old world, he feels he should master everything all his friends do.
It all sounded so familiar. My parents wanted me to be happy with the life they provided me, but I saw all of the additional possibilities for play, camp, and school that they didn’t. They felt good about the options they provided for me that they didn’t have. But I was starting life with a different benchmarks than them, which is what my kid seems to be going through.
It was humbling for me to accept that as much as I want to be a better parent, a different parent…in some ways, I’m confronting the same challenges they faced. And will probably have to answer the same questions from my sons.