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Matt and I have been talking a lot lately about our goals for our family. Living in suburbia can make it more difficult at times to stay on track with what you feel is truly right and good for your family. For whatever reason it seems as though towns like ours are obsessed with sports. (For the record, I love my town. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. It just seems as though it’s easy to get caught up in this kind of living in certain places.)

Play sports 24/7. Choose your sport by the age of 6. Hire a professional trainer to help your child be the best.

I don’t get it.

I played sports year-round growing up. I played softball and swam on the swim team in the summer. I played basketball. I ran track. But I did it because I loved it. Because it was fun. Because I wanted to.

Not because my parents thought it would get me a scholarship or because they thought I’d be a professional athlete. I did it because I wanted to.

I want that so badly for my kids.

I want Gabe and Matthew to play soccer or basketball or baseball because they love it. Because it’s fun. Because it’s good exercise. Because they like to play with their friends. I want them to feel no pressure from us. Because honestly? We could care less. We don’t care what the kids do as long as they get exercise. If they end up being valedictorian or getting a scholarship for athletics, fantastic! But that’s not our goal.

You know what kind of professional we want our kids to be?

Professional kind, good people.

What happened to that? To focusing on making sure our children were good citizens? Productive members of society? Happy? Having fun? Enjoying life? Being kind and thoughtful and polite?

That is what we are focused on in this family. Making sure we are producing professional kind, good people. Not professional athletes, not Harvard graduates….good people. Because to us, that’s what’s most important. I see the disappointment in Gabe’s eyes when he’s not recognized at the best on his team, when he gets a B on a test, when he’s not the fastest one on the field. I’m guilty of that too. Having that drive to the be the best can be a good thing if it doesn’t overpower you. I keep reminding myself, and Gabe, that it’s more important to be a good person and be happy with yourself.

What’s important to your family?

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14 responses to “Professional

  1. I like “Professional Good People”. I am reading “The Blessings of a Skinned Knee”. It is about Jewish teachings and applying them to parenting. I am not Jewish, but our school’s parent association just read this. I am just in the beginning, but it is very interesting and addresses the issues you have been talking about lately!

  2. I love your post today. I agree. I want my girls to grow up to be honest, kind-hearted, open-minded people. I want them to be able to make a good decision and to be able to make a good judgement about their “bad” decisions. I think you are right, I want them to be “professional good people”.

  3. I don’t know why anyone would want to graduate from Harvard anyway! Every time you screw something up people will say “and YOU graduated from Harvard!??”

  4. Oh man, I am so with you on this. I love Professional Good People. I’m going to use that one. I am so tired dealing with all the stress of “be the best, sign up for this, do this, do that” and my oldest is only 9. Can’t we just BE?

  5. Amen to this! I so agree that as long as my daughter grows up an honest, good person, she can be whatever she wishes.

  6. Well said! I’m certainly in the business of trying to make nice people. I sure hope this experiement in raising kids is going well because I don’t think we get do overs.

  7. No arguments here! I agree, we seem to push, push, push our kids at such a young age when what they should be doing is trying anything and everything. And some free time (true free time) to discover and explore and create and imagine is necessary, too.

  8. I think our kids have too many choices and its overwhelming to pull them in so many directions.
    I want to raise a kind daughter with a courteous soul and who is sensitive to others instead of being self absorbed. I’ve met too many adults who are so consumed about themselves and that is my biggest fear, raising a child that thinks the universe is only about her.

  9. Tiffany: This is so important and something I am also more concerned with. I want my kids to be better than me.

    Professional trainers? That’s a bit much for a kid, isn’t it? How about let them develop their talent on their own? That’s my thought. Oh, well.

  10. I know exactly how you feel! I think the hard part too is that as parents we get caught up in some of this because of the INSANE cost of some of these sports! Whatever happened to learning how to play a sport when you reached junior high?? Whatever happened to a little backyard fun?? (that happens a lot at our house but it’s amazing how few children I see in the backyards of our neighborhood!) I agree that kids need to be kids and parents need to be involved with them to help them be the best they can be at LIFE. After all, that’s what is MOST important!

    • Wow! Spot-on! Aidan’s first couple of days of third grade were miserable because of some kids who have chosen ( or parents have chosen) for them to be “professional athletes.” As he was ridiculed for being on the “bad team” by not only these kids, but also their parents, we had to stick together as a family and stick to our family values. I felt like crap. The only thing holding my kid back from being on that team was money. We could have made it happen- as parents we want to do the best for our kids, give them the world to make them happy. I would have figured out a way. Then I stepped back. We felt like we gave him more though by keeping him out of it and falling back on our family values. In our home, we love on people. I was so proud the day I witnessed my child wish two of those same professional athlete kids ” good luck” for their tournament that weekend and congratulate them on their goals from the weekend game. I am a proud mom of a professional kind kid!

  11. Once again you are RIGHT ON! I had a business meeting yesterday and I had to fill out a questionnaire about myself personally and professionally. One of the questions was “What’s your burning desire?” The typical answer would have been $XXXX in sales or $XXXXX in income, but my answer was “To raise well rounded, productive boys who do what they love and contribute to their community in a positive way.” He was blown away by my answer. It seemed natural to me, so I was caught off guard when he was so impressed. Business is great and yes I have professional goals too but ultimately, my number one job is MOM. Glad to see I’m not the only one who feels this way. Enjoy your date night!

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