By Robyn Geller
Wait for your pitch.
Straighten that swing.
I can still hear my mother gently “shouting” these encouraging words while sitting in her folding chair on the sidelines of my softball game when I was a kid. I’m willing to bet she, herself, probably never even tried on a baseball glove for size, but something made her feel that I needed her positive thoughts, so she loudly, yet lovingly, yelled them out for all to hear, every – single – game.
Now I’m the mom. My 4-year old twins just started playing T-ball and I have been checking out the sideline scene to determine the appropriate behavior that I should display. At this age, the sport is anything but competitive, but I still feel the need to do the right thing – to strike the right balance so as to support my children without embarrassing them.
It’s commonly known that less is more, so I assumed that was the case on the T-ball sidelines as well. And according to Dr. Tim Elmore, founder of the non-profit organization Growing Leaders, I was right. Their philosophy is that win or lose, there are only 6 things you ever have to say to your kids, three before the game, and three after.
Before the competition:
I love you.
After the competition:
Did you have fun?
I’m proud of you.
I love you.
Dr. Elmore points out additional research from colleagues which found that the only six words college athletes want to hear from their parents are: I love to watch you play.
That’s it. Nothing else. Of course the Jewish mom in me has so much more to say, but the simplicity makes sense. It seems like it should be easy for us to take a step back and just let kids be kids. The coach is there to coach, and I’m there because I’m their mom. Whether they strike out a batter or hit a grand slam, whether they drop a fly ball or get thrown out trying to steal home, my job isn’t to advise them from the sidelines. My job remains the same as it has been since the day they were born — love them, support them and be there for them. Always.
By Robyn Geller, JCS Public Relations Coordinator
Because parenting doesn’t come with an instruction manual, JCS offers a variety of programs, services, education and support for parents and families with children of all ages. Click here or call 410-466-9200 to learn more.