Children Expose our Broken Places

For the record, I do not think this is a FAIL...just a really bad day!

A man punches his thirteen-year-old son after losing a basketball game.

A woman flushes red as she tries to instruct her daughter during a relaxed holiday dance show.

Another woman yells at a teacher for her daughter’s failing grade…even though the daughter never shows up for class.

A dad writes a nasty anonymous email to a coach because he thinks his son is being treated unfairly.

Yes, I am in the midst of research about youth sports, and the crazy sports parents, I’ll call them Chuck and Belinda (sorry if that is your name) they come into conversation often.  What I am starting to observe is that Chuck and Belinda would be crazy no matter what their kids were doing.

Our children are reflections of us. For the people who are pretty satisfied and self-assured about their own reflection, they have been able to see the efforts, successes, and failures of their children as separate from themselves. Chuck and Belinda are far from that centered awareness.

You see Chuck probably has some issues from his own relationship with his parents, or he is carrying around a ton of shame about his life that manifests itself in his efforts to make the lives of his children better than his. It kills him when his kid screws up.  He hates it, and the son hears it in the post-game carride home.

Belinda may have body image issues or self-esteem problems. She can hardly control the emotions she has never addressed, so they come blurting out of her mouth on the sidelines of a game, in the telephone at a teacher or from the front row of her children’s stage.

Sports arenas are likely the most acceptable place to express the unresolved emotion.  We are allowed to yell and scream there.  The acceptable adult temper-tantrum.  Dance moms (you’ve seen that incredibly addictive show, haven’t you?) emote with tears, some yelling, and the cat-clawing nastiness.

So what are you like?  Why are you like that?  Is it an enjoyable experience for you to “feel” all the emotions that come with watching your children try to grow up?  Is it painful to watch them fail, and fall, and learn? Why?

I am not perfect, and when I can feel Belinda starting to well up in my own chest, I have been known to put myself into time out and spend some time thinking about what brought her out today.

I see innocence in my children, vulnerability and a great responsibility to help guide them to that next phase in life.  The thing is, I have my own growing to do too. I can’t ever, ever forget that!

Find out more about Meagan Frank and her current book project at:

Copyright 2011 Meagan Frank

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