The Opinions of Others

Hi David,
Your monthly webinars have been very enjoyable and helpful!  I have learned lots and continue to seek ways to be a better grounded/rounded sport parent.  One thing I'd love to hear your thoughts on is... How does a parent best react to the outside world's perception/comments of their child with sports?  Here's  a little example:

My son recently walks in the door and says "Mom, some man called out his car window and said I've gotten a lot better at tennis.  He said he should play me sometime.".  Initially, I'm taken aback but know it's most likely someone nearby and nothing to worry about... aside from the ongoing comments of people with regard to my son and sports.  Perhaps, one would think I'd be beaming but I actually find it quite annoying!  I'm not sure how to respond.  This morning I went to a little clinic and they brought up my son.  My response is usually "yes, he's really enjoying..." (the sport of the moment) but then I feel like I'm caught off guard.  I'm told I should give him extra lessons, sign him up for clubs, etc. etc..
If you have any suggestions around these sorts of situations with sports, it would be great to hear them.

Tennis Mom

Dear Tennis Mom,

I've found that the comments (opinions really!) of others are messages that are best heard, but not absorbed; witnessed, but not believed; tolerated, but not valued.  The only exception to this is when we are seeking the wise counsel of someone credible and trusted - and even then, we must listen to our own hearts (& gut) for the final word.  Furthermore, we need to teach our children this concept so they do not grow up hanging on every flattering word or devastated by every critical comment.

We can't control the words of others, but we can control how we interpret those words and how we respond.  Most of the time, in the world of competitive youth sports, it's "noise" -like crowd noise- and all competitors are taught to ignore it in order to think their own thoughts!  I believe you and your son are the best ones to judge whether to sign him up for more lessons, clubs, etc. or not.  Do your due diligence on these decisions but avoid the opinions of those who have nothing to lose in the decision.

Hope this helps!



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