Teamwork. Friendship. Fun. That's why Amanda loves soccer. She will probably not be going to college on a soccer scholarship, but I will support her desire to play as long as she continues to learn those values while she's at it.
In her soccer league, they have one day each season that calls for "silent sidelines." The coaches, and (ahem) the parents are to be silent. Cheering when they make a goal or a great kick is acceptable of course, but this rule does more than just outlaw the negative "help" that many parents give from the sidelines. We could do without that every week. It includes any instruction from the sidelines--parents or coaches:
Look out for that girl!The reasoning behind this is sound. They need to learn to work as a team, to exercise their judgment on the skills that they've been learning all year. Even when the input is positive and helpful, it is still a deterrent to them actually learning the skills themselves.
Take it to the goal!
Pass it to Ana!
I think that when we close our mouths and just watch, we are often surprised at the choices that they make on their own. All of Amanda's teammates know that Ana can take it to the goal. They don't need us nagging away on the sidelines.
Isn't this true in life as well as sports?
Don't watch that movie.
Invite the new girl to sit with you at lunch.
Be kind to your brother.
All very instructive words. All things that we should be helping our children to understand. But when do we let their moral compass kick in? When do we begin to let them feel the consequences or reap the rewards of their own choices?
When I was a teenager, I remember that there were a few times that I thought that my room was getting a bit too messy, even for my standards, and I had designated Saturday to getting it in order. Then the ultimatum would come down on Friday, "If you don't get your room clean, you won't be doing anything this weekend." That changed things. Now I wasn't able to do it because I knew it had to be done. The command often led to rebellion, "Well, fine, I'll just stay home then."
Teamwork. Friendship. Fun. All life skills that I want Amanda to be learning around here as well with a little coaching and a little golden silence. The key is recognizing those silent sidelines moments.
Can you share a time when not coaching your children helped them reach the right decision on their own? Are there things that you are adamant about continuing to coach them on until they get it right?