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Annie Fox, M.Ed., is an internationally respected parenting expert, award-winning author, and a trusted online adviser for tweens and teens.

We’re so proud of you… now

February 20, 2010

Way to go, son!

Way to go, son! (Photo by Daniel Tacci)

Crazy-fearless young snow boarders defy gravity  in the half-pipe. Who knows how the hell they do it, but man, it look like a total blast. Parents in the crowd, happily freezin’ for a reason, beam up unconditional love and support to their McTwisting young ‘uns. The commentator crows “Are  those proud parents or what?”

Well, yeah… your kid’s competing in the Olympics! What’s not to be proud? And by the way, looks like  he’s bringing home Vancouver gold so dust off the mantle. Talk about bragging rights, reflected glory, and a chunk of change from commercial endorsements. Not too shabby for a kid you worried wouldn’t amount to anything cause all he ever wanted was to do tricks.

It got me thinking that maybe the Flying Tomato and the other joyful but oh so focused kids on the boards weren’t always a source of parental pride. Just guessing there might have been a few heated conversations ’round the kitchen table about why the boy couldn’t think of a more ‘productive’ way to spend an afternoon.

What if the parents of  Shaun White and Louie Vito had come down heavy and managed to squelch their kids’ early passion? What if they took parental responsibility to mean “re-direct kid toward practical pursuits”? If every parent went that route I’m guessing there wouldn’t be Olympic snowboarding to thrill and inspire us landlubbers.

I’m wondering how often we parents, with all good and loving intentions, snuff out the flame of a kid’s interests because we don’t see where it could possibly lead? Just don’t see what they see.



  1. My 15-year-old son loves sports. Totally his passion. He plays football, soccer and LAX with a vengeance. Loves to train and he’s extremely good in all these sports often playing on select and varsity teams.

    Truthfully my son is an adrenaline junky. He would get his “fix” some other way if we did not support his sports passion.

    Comment by Elizabeth Coplan — February 20, 2010 @ 11:53 am

  2. My 14 year old’s passion is computers, games, and programming. He is very talented at it and we are really trying to support it-we’ve enrolled him in courses, got him a computer, etc. Over spring break we plan to go into the city and visit the game studio of one of his teachers.

    He has our full support, but believe it or not, some of the other adults in his life criticize it. They make judgmental comments about how long we allow him to be on a computer, they tell him that he needs to take extra courses that are \more like school\, that they hate video games because they rot kid’s brains, etc. These are the very people who you would think would be celebrating the fact that a kid has a burning desire to LEARN, but no.

    But then again, they can’t distinguish an operating system from virus or know what wallpaper is, so I tell Jake to consider who it’s coming from.

    Comment by Scatteredmom — February 27, 2010 @ 11:06 am

  3. @Scatterdmom – there will always be people judging people, especially parents judging other parents. Bottom line is, no matter how well our kids our doing now, we don’t know if they will change and do something in the future. Every activity teaches how to learn, and has aspects that will be good for something else. So no matter what the child is doing and is good at, that’s the only important thing, the struggle, the learning process and the commitment.

    Comment by Tammy Gordin — July 8, 2011 @ 4:20 pm

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