Tuesday, June 22, 2010


2 a : a disadvantage that makes achievement unusually difficult

A friend recently wrote about her daughter's audition for a play. In her post, she talks about learning to separate her daughter's passion for theater from her own. She writes that she is grateful to have the skills to help her daughter "construct her wings to take flight" and that she is carefully treading on the line most parents walk between encouraging our children and pushing them.

Today, A danced with a group of other students. She's done these dances dozens of times. She wasn't nervous. And she had no need to be. She did great. But as I watched her rehearse, I wondered how much of a handicap it is for her to have me as her mother. A was one of five dancers there. Two of the other dancers have mothers that are dancers. I heard one of these moms capably discussing some dance move with the instructor prior to the performance. All I did was make sure A and her friend J were there to dance - and put A's hair in a bun.

B wants to enter an art show at church. She saw mention of it last week, pointed it out to me and said, "I want to do that." And while I nodded encouragingly and will call to find out the details, I'm apprehensive. B flits from interest to interest and while J and I always make her fulfill her commitments (i.e. soccer, basketball, dance), I don't make her follow through on every idea she mentions. That would be near impossible. So how do I provide just enough guidance and encouragement for her to follow through on this project? I've queried her about medium - she says she's better with pencil or watercolor and she knows the kind of paper she wants. Beyond that? I'm not even sure what to ask her. It's hard to not feel like I'm making it difficult for my child to achieve even the most basic realization of her dreams.

And K? I have no idea what to do with her. I can tell that she needs attention, so for now she's taking dance. I know she loves any sport that involves a ball, so in the fall she'll be back in soccer. And then? Who knows? Because her personality and needs are so far different from my own that I'm certain her passion, when it emerges, will be something I know nothing about.

Surely other parents face dilemmas like mine. I know we hear about baseball players whose fathers pitched in the majors. Or dancers who have learned at the barre of their mother's studio. But I can't possibly be the only mom whose daughters have passions all their own.

For a long time, I've enjoyed the fact that my daughters' passions aren't my own. It made it easy to be their cheerleader, not their coach. But I don't want them to be placed at a disadvantage because they have a mother who is unable to navigate their path. But is it my job to navigate their path or just walk alongside them? I know God has a plan for each of them and that his plan will unfurl without my assistance. I just don't want to be the roadblock to whatever he has in store for them.


Allison in Texas said...

It's so funny that you blogged about this. I have been thinking about blogging about this and the fact that I don't know how to parent athletes AT ALL. And how do you know if you are doing enough, or too much?

Chris and Tiana said...

Well, my daughter's only ambition right now is to be a queen when she grows up. That's because she firmly believes she's a princess now. Since I'm pretty sure I've never in my life worn a pink poofy dress, I'm not sure how to help her with that. But I'm thinking it'll be okay :)

Your girls are blessed so much more than you realize to have you as their mother. Truly, my friend.