Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Whose Activity Is It?

There is a fine line between supporting and encouraging your child and pushing them to do things so you can live vicariously through them. I have been faced with this delima before, but none so much as with my girls and their cheer leading.

Yes, they LOVE it! Yes, they get up EVERY morning begging to go to cheer practice. Yes, they work really hard. And, yes, they really do have talent.

BUT- I have to admit I spend an inordinate amount of time daydreaming about my girls becoming the "perfect" college candidate. First, they are in a school for gifted students. So, if they can keep up their grades, get in some community service and school clubs, get some great scores on ACT/SAT-- then round it out by having super cheer leading skills: "The Perfect College Candidate." I'm talking free ride...

Granted, they could also round out by playing an instrument or playing soccer or running track. But (this is where the quandary comes into play) cheer leading is so much more FUN!

I was never a cheerleader. I was on the dance squad. And I had a BALL! The joy of working with a team and then winning competitions was priceless.

So, did I (unwittingly) push my desires on my children? Would they have preferred to been skate boarders? Or Barbie collectors? Or soloists at church? Do they love cheer because of me, having inherited my love of being excited and positive? Or do they love cheer for me, because they see how much I love watching them cheer?

As parents, where is the line between "proud parent" and "stage mom"?

I will grant you that I have been exposed to many things I would never have even dreamed of because of my children: My son enjoyed fencing (like Zorro and the Three Musketeers!). He is also an avid cartoonist; reading, drawing and watching Yu-Gio, Pokemon, and just about any other kind of Japanese cartoon. My youngest has nerves of steel- throws herself off of things, climbs up too high, thinks nothing of trying new things. And my middle child has a love of foreign language, taking Spanish, French and Chinese simultaneously.

All of those things are "their" things- as much a part of them as their smile or their eye color. So, is cheer leading the same? I admit that if I had a child that loved baseball, I would have a harder time getting excited about it. I would love watching them play because they were my child. But I don't necessarily love baseball.

Cheer leading is fun to me, and thus, fun to watch. It makes it far easier to want to get up off the couch and go sit in a gym for two hours, two times a week, when it's something we all enjoy.

And, to be fair, there have been some things I have pushed them to do because I wanted them to do it. But I promise you, the outcome was not nearly as much fun as cheer leading. Half way through soccer season, my youngest wanted to quit. We said "no" because we had committed to the team. For exactly four Saturdays, we bribed, begged, threatened and pleaded all the way to the soccer field.

I guess I'll quit worrying so much. I'm sure if they have something to say, they'll say it. Goodness knows they've never been much for a loss for words! Especially words like, "Go Team!"

1 comment:

ThePrincessMommy said...

I keep telling you - I think you should jion the adult team. I will too. It nearly makes me fall on the floor laughing to think of us out there cheering!!! Can you imagine what our spouses would think!!!