I was recently speaking in Alberta and I had the opportunity to meet so many incredible hockey parents. One of the topics I often speak about is the first lesson from the book called, “Don’t force your passion”. After my presentation, I was speaking to a man whose son played hockey until midget and then he quit. He had the best story about his idea of what his son’s passion should have been and where it ended up. I thought it was such a great message around not forcing your own passion on your kids. Before I tell you more about that, I want to share with you an excerpt from my book so you can see that there were so many times in my story that I got this wrong over and over again. This is the best illustration of that, it was during my son’s very first game of hockey.
“As I sat in the cold I could finally hear the sound of a bunch of seven- year -old’s coming out of the dressing room. It didn’t take me long to spot my little hockey player. He skated onto the ice-actually he shuffled onto the ice – but something was obviously wrong. For some reason his knees never stopped buckling and his ankles seemed to be scraping the ice. Something had to be wrong; had someone taped his knees together? I watched, eyes glued on him. I was starting to sweat, feeling like I had tied Jack’s skates wrong, he was obviously not enjoying himself. He looked like Bambi flailing around on the ice. I sat there in shock. This was not how it was supposed to be. I had pictured it all so differently. I found this all super annoying. I’d woken up at an ungodly hour, dressed him in his hockey equipment, all because this was going to be a memory dammit! I, the woman who loved hockey, was going to come and watch my son skate through all of the players and score on his very first day. The only thing he scored that day was a donut!”
As I stood and talked to this man in Alberta about his son, I wished I would have had his story when I was writing the book. He told me that through the years he encouraged his son to play hockey. He encouraged him to workout, to eat better and he offered him a personal trainer but his son often refused. He was a good enough athlete that he did well without all of his Dad’s suggestions but his Dad could see he had potential for a scholarship or more. Once he hit high school, to his Dad’s great disappointment, he gave up hockey and started playing for the high school football team. He would come home a little later from school each day and when his Dad asked him where he was, he’d say he was working out. He started to request healthier foods in the house and his time on the field started to garnish a ton of attention. By the end of his senior year, he was offered a scholarship to his school of choice to play football. As his Dad tells the story, he said, “I missed it the whole time, all I saw was a hockey player. Thank God he followed his own passion and once he found it, I didn’t need to tell him to work out or eat right, he did what he had to do.”
So, I’ll say it again, let your child chose their own passion!
- Written by Allyson Tufts