The Opposite Problem
I went back to the ice skating rink for the first time in two weeks. I went alone because none of my kids wanted to join me. The rink was super crowded. I couldn’t find a space to practice or to learn new moves; therefore, I just skated around the rink. As I observed parents skating with their kids, I envied them. I skated for about half an hour and left the rink.
Last night, I spoke to my sister’s ex-boyfriend. He phoned me once a year to catch up. We talked about children and he praised me for making the time to hang out with my kids. He regretted that he was too busy making money and didn’t pay attention to his kids. His daughter didn’t speak to him for three years. She told him and his wife that they never made time for her when she was younger. All they cared about was making money. He realized his mistake, but it was too late. His daughter is in college now and he is trying to spend time with her. I consoled him that it is never too late to make time for his kids.
After talking to him, I realized that we had the opposite problem. I wanted to provide my kids the opportunities to find something they would be passionate about. They picked up ice skating fast and leveled up their skills, but they had completely lost interest in it. They didn’t want to take lessons. They didn’t want to practice. They didn’t want to go skating just for fun. I made them go a couple of times. They went, but skated for ten minutes and just sat out.
We tried rollerblading. They liked going to skateparks at first, but then showed no sign of interest. Asking them to go to skateparks with me was like forcing them to do their assignments. I stopped asking and went myself.
They tried learning ice hockey. They seemed to like it, but then their heart was not in it. I didn’t see any reason to continue if we kept wasting our money. Ice hockey is not an affordable sport.
They are into skiing and snowboarding now, but I am sure they will start to lose interest in them soon. I can recognize the pattern by now.
The only thing that they have been consistently excited about is video games. They would sit and play all day if I let them. They would lose their minds if I ban them. All of the efforts I had been making to draw their attention away from their screens had been useless.
It hurt and irritated me to see them glue to their screens. Maybe I should just stop trying and let them do what they want. In retrospect, my mother did not watch over my every move. She let me decide what to do with my life. Then again, I wished my parents exposed me to these sports when I was a kid. Because I didn’t play any sport, I lacked athletic confidence. I was afraid to try out anything until my wife pushed me to do them with our kids. Now I am more into these sports than my kids.