You Can’t Force Your Kids To Enjoy The Same Sports As You
As parents, I think it is natural to want to guide our children toward things we want them to do. Choosing sports, musical instruments and other activities is all part of the experience of parenthood but more than that, it’s about the experience for our kids. Between my husband and I, we played several sports growing up that we were eager to have our own kids try. As they get older, they are showing clear talent and affinity for certain things and we are trying hard to listen to them instead of imposing our own preferences. It is easier said than done.
Neither my husband or myself ever played baseball but we come from a family of serious baseball fans. When we found out our second child was a boy, the Yankees and baseball-themed gifts and room decor came pouring in. We bought our son outfits with baseballs on them and it just sort of became his “thing” before he was old enough to say otherwise. As he learned to sit up and crawl, we saw that he gravitated toward bouncy balls and his favorite game for months was to sit across from one of us and roll a ball back and forth. His first word, before even mama or dada, was “ball.” We thought it was so cute considering our hopes for him in the future with playing baseball.
Our daughter is older and when she was the eligible age, we signed her up for t-ball. She hadn’t expressed much interest up until that point, but it became clear pretty quickly that she was good at it. Once our son was old enough last year, we signed him up too. Last season went very well for both of them and we were honestly over-joyed. We loved seeing them play and excel and it was so funny to us that the sport our son was practically born to love turned out to be one he had a natural talent for. We were sad when last season ended and couldn’t wait for the next one to begin.
Fast-forward to now. It is time for sign-ups and when we told the kids, they both looked less than thrilled. They have spent the winter playing indoor soccer and they are in love it. Soccer was my favorite sport to play growing up and although I am happy to see my kids enjoying it, I am sad to hear that they would both prefer to play soccer this spring over baseball. The practices run in a way that they would have to choose-they can’t play both with the way the schedules are. We have had several talks and they keep insisting they want to play soccer this year instead of baseball.
And of course, that is what we will do. We want them to be happy and enjoy what they are doing. We recognize that for such young children, baseball has the potential to be boring with a lot of downtime both in the dug-out and on the field, while soccer is much more active. That said, we are both definitely bummed out that we won’t be seeing them play baseball this season. We haven’t let them see much of our disappointment and only discuss it privately because we recognize that our preferences shouldn’t be a factor in them deciding what sports to play. We will get over it and we will have a blast watching them play soccer. We had our chance as kids, and now it is their time to shine, even if it does cause a little sadness on our part.
(Image: Heather Renee/Shutterstock)