As parents we invest a lot of time and energy into rearing our children and most of them, over time, will thankfully grow up into fully functioning, ‘normal’, human beings. Each of our children are different not only in looks and stature but also in personality, but do we really know them? Did our own parents really know us?
I remember while training to be a volunteer with childline we did a night on ‘labels’. The facilitator explained that within every family there are clearly defined boxes which we are put into, often unfairly. There is the moody box, the clown, the whinger, the peacemaker, the trouble maker etc. It is very difficult, within the family, to ever climb out of your appointed box but often outside of home a very different nature is revealed.
Last weekend I was reminded of that lecture. I was at a swimming competition with a group of young swimmers. The majority were aged between ten and eleven. As always they made us coaches more than a little proud, as they dug deep and fought so hard within their races, as well as supporting each other. Their happiness was contagious and I came home on a high, after a very long day.
However it was not the wonderful races which stayed within my mind, but the triumph over adversity I had witnessed. Some of those swimmers had previously had less than perfect days in competition. There had been tears and disappointments and no reward for the hard work that had been put in at 6am. As I remembered those galas I thought about the day just passed and the beaming smiles, as those same children triumphed. And I wondered…
Did their parents have any idea how hard their child had worked over the past few months? Did they know there had been days when they had cried with frustration? Did they know they had listened so attentively and put such trust in their coaches? Did they know how determined they were to improve? Did they know the strength of character their child possessed?
Rest assured myself and fellow coaches will tell the parents of these young swimmers all of this, but I wonder do they already know and if necessary will our word be enough to help find a new more fitting box for their child? For they richly deserve it.
photo credit: CB106492 via photopin (license)