First thank you to everyone who has taken the time to view this blog. I actually thought my wife would click on it a few times and that’s it. I am overwhelmed by your support. That being said let’s go…
I have been a basketball coach for approximately 15 years and counting. I played for about 15+ years prior to that. I have pretty much followed basketball from the womb. To say I know the game is an understatement. I have coached countless athletes and had the pleasure to witness some play at the next level. I have played at the next level myself so I know what it takes to get there. I think in theory we all do, right, because “what it takes” is the same in anything we want to accomplish. In addition to some talent or ability it takes hard work, commitment, sacrifice and determination to name a few.
This motivating factor we will call drive…I find myself asking the question how do I instill this drive into my oldest son? Can I, his mother his teammates or his coach even do that for him? Are you born with this innate drive or can it be cultivated? How do I motivate him to be motivated? So many questions and no answers just frustration.
I think back to my younger self waking up thinking about basketball, watching the clock during class until it was time for practice, anticipating open gym before practice was over and then looking forward to watching the game when I got home. Let’s just say he does not have the same level of passion, and if he does, he does not express it in the same manner and this drives me insane.
Most days I feel like my son could take it or leave it. Why does that bother me so much? Why do I see this invisible sand timer running out one grain at a time? Why am I comparing him to the other under whatever year olds? Why am I comparing him to the me of my youth (which truth be told my mom told me I didn’t really spend hours and hours out in the driveway working on my game. That is just how I want to remember it). My wife is a school counselor and she likes to throw around counselorisms like confetti (yes I make up words) she says “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I’m sure she saw that painted on a block of wood on Pinterest and ran with it. But it is true! Am I missing the joy in just watching him be him? Really and truly I want him to love what he does. But I want him to care because he truly cares about and enjoys what he does not just because I think it matters.
I teach business and I came across this article and it made me think of this internal conversation I am having with myself. In the article, Business: The Drive to Succeed, the author, Jim Taylor Ph. D., puts it right out there. When describing the grind he states, “Many corporate psychologists will say that you have to love The Grind. I say that, except for a very few hyper-motivated businesspeople, love isn’t in the cards because there’s not much to love in The Grind. But how you respond to The Grind lies along a continuum. Loving the Grind is rare. At the other end of the continuum is “I hate The Grind.” If you feel this way, you are not likely to stay motivated. I suggest that you neither love nor hate The Grind; you simply accept it as part of the deal in striving toward success. The Grind may not feel very good, but what does feel good is seeing your hard work pay off with success.”
So many parents are out there pushing their kids, over-training their kids, passing it off as a love of the grind. It is easy to fall into the trap of feeling like all this sacrifice is essential and will pay off in the end. But what am I sacrificing? That is the scariest question of all.
All that being said I am getting better. I recognize that self-care is important for me and for him (another counselorism I got from the wise one). I let him make the choices. Sometimes its not the choice I would have made, nor what I think he needs, but I go with it, and to be honest I have seen his passion increase because the choice is his alone. I have seen him begin to see the success and the fruits of his labor and that is cultivating the drive on its own. The biggest benefit has been our relationship improving because I took a step back and rather than dragging him by the collar of his jersey down the road of HIS journey I am letting him take the lead. I’m just happy to follow and see where this goes.