I have a confession to make: I am NOT a perfect tennis parent. Shocking, I know (!), but sometimes I tend to lose perspective, letting the little things get in the way of the big ones.
Last week, my son had Spring Break from school. A few weeks earlier, my husband had mentioned that he’d like to take our son on a father-son trip, maybe fishing or skiing. Given that I’m the parent in charge of All Things Tennis, my husband asked me which tournaments were coming up during our son’s break from school to figure out how best to schedule their getaway. Of course, there were two big tournaments planned during that week, each within an hour and a half of our house and each one that our son really wanted to play. I told my husband about the tournaments and asked him to try to schedule around them. After all, our son had finally overcome the dreaded Alternate List and was likely to get into both tournaments and have an opportunity for some high-level competition.
In my warped perspective, his opportunity to play a couple of tennis tournaments trumped his opportunity for some precious father-son bonding. What in the world was I thinking???
Luckily for both of my guys, my husband was the voice of reason and quickly made me recognize my mis-perception of what was REALLY important here. Needless to say, my son skipped both tournaments and went skiing with his dad. And both of them came home with some new inside jokes, shared experiences, and a renewed appreciation for each other. My skewed perspective almost prevented all that from happening. Thankfully, my husband has a broader view when it comes to our son’s tennis, and, also thankfully, this time I listened!
It’s so easy to get sucked into the mindset that it has to be All Tennis All The Time for our junior players. It’s important to remember, though, that our goal is not only to create good tennis players but also good human beings. Sometimes that means setting aside the tennis for other equally – if not more – valuable experiences. Keep reminding me of that, okay?