Raising a Diego Maradona


Raising a Diego Maradona

How even well-intended courses of action may not be right for our children


Not everything that shines is gold. I have heard this proverb on numerous occasions, but I guess mastering the art of what I should do with what I know is a life-long adventure in my life as a parent and a parent-educator. The following are just two examples of paradigms that could potentially challenge the task of raising happy well-rounded learners, no matter if they were uttered with best intentions. These are: (1) They may resent how I push them to excel in everything, but one day my kids will understand that I only want the best for them; (2) My son can be the next Diego Maradona if only he would focus his efforts and find this a real goal.

I could convince myself that perhaps, later on they will learn to love the undertaking I push them into, especially if they begin to excel in it. The question to ask is, is this the right course for them? How do I know if the passion I see is theirs and not mine? Of course, there are decisions that are essential to a child’s development, which are not clearly defined yet to the student, but will soon be understood in any case.

As a mother and a home school parent, I only want the best for my brood. I want them to do extremely well in every endeavor. However, it is always easy to get caught up in the appeal of competitions, and in the charm of statuesque trophies, the glitters of medals that a champion would bring home, or the allure of getting future college scholarships for each kid.

Without a doubt, it is easier to design a life that supports and tracks a child’s talent if his gift is clearly manifested. By clearly manifested I meant, for instance, I see my child with an undeniable flair for creative arts beyond her years; or maybe my boy surprisingly shows a dribbling skill like no other. In short, there is no room to doubt that my child’s ability does exist, with or without initial encouragement.

But what about setting up a developmental strategy for your offspring through sports or a comprehensive academic procession that obviously requires years of dedicated commitment? Not that there is anything wrong with both. Absolutely not! Either one could very well be a worthy aspiration so long as this truly prepares a child into becoming a happy, poised and productive citizen of the world without fanning flames of familial or budgetary concerns.

All my children are dedicated athletes. My son, however, favors soccer. In fact, he has indicated on several occasions that he would like to play competitive soccer games. I have no doubt that he has a lot of fantastic plays to show. Time and time again, coaches at soccer camps would confirm my son’s propensity for this sport. If given the chance to hone his talents and skills, I am sure he will be unstoppable. Does he possess untapped gifts that could propel him to various opportunities given to talented soccer players? Perhaps. Does he have all the prerequisites needed to abate the risks of entrusting his future to this sport? Maybe. Will rearranging our family’s way of life to accommodate the rigors of soccer bring potential familial and monetary conflicts? Most likely.

Building a future based largely on dreams, hopes and expectations, is equivalent to converting a flat, uninhabited and what seems to be a barren land into an agricultural haven. I am not saying that it is impossible; but this task is at the very least time-consuming and certainly a catch-net for frustrations, disappointments and set-backs. Before you and your child will commit to such endeavor, consider if this pursuit of excellence is worth how much you are willing to sacrifice. In a previous blog, I maintained, it is necessary to consider how meeting our goals for our kids blends into our family’s way of life. Although an activity probably addresses a child’s need, if doing so will destroy the family’s budget or mess up relationships then it is not worth pursuing.

Knowing what matters most to my family, I am able to move my children’s activities around it. There are challenges and temptations on some occasions to deviate from what is extremely valuable to us as a unit. As the chief architect of my students’ academic and general developmental progress, it is essential that I listen to my husband’s and my kids’ voiced and muted opinion. We often talk about how we parents would do just about anything for our children’s sake. On the other hand, it is not often discussed how kids would follow their parents’ lead in the names of devotion and love. Believe me when I say that most often, the things that were not said reveal more than those that were loudly spoken. Thus, I have now begun to check  if my children would only agree to do what I tell them to do, because of fear that if they do not, they would disappoint me.

There is no question about the depth of love I have for my children. Unfortunately, even with my best intentions, it is quite possible to still miss what could have been better for them if I would only look into things that are visible, or hear only audible sounds, and experience what I can only feel.

I wrote before in Only the Best for Our Brood that we are not always correct being our kids’ parents, but we do the best we could so that we can be right for their sake. Most often, our best efforts require stepping back and re-evaluating our action plans for our children. After all, what good service will these bring to our children if the  happy learner  in them is missing?

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