I was a volunteer at Ally’s school this week, helping harvest their class garden for an upcoming Thanksgiving feast. Trying to corral the bouncing kids, get them to pay attention to the master gardener, and not impale themselves on the pitchforks reminded me of my few seasons trying to teach many of the same kids soccer or basketball. Without the pitchforks.
The hardest part about being a coach for me was not being able to forget being a player. You know what it’s like to be the person you’re now trying to coach. You know how to do these things. Or you think you do.
Similar thoughts occurred to me again later in the week when I (gently and cautiously) asked Cecilia about an upcoming assessment. I’ve learned, like new math, that one should never call something a test anymore. I offered my help and some suggestions (yes, flash cards might have been mentioned). Why not? I was a kid. I remember being a middle schooler. Or I thought I did.
And that assumption might be part of the problem. Coach, player, or parent, the game has changed. Yes, certain truths and experiences about childhood will forever remain the same, but every generation also grows up in its own context, with its own unique problems and opportunities.
Old methods might still get you there in the end but it might also make everyone miserable in the process.
The girls are not me. They are growing up in a different world and my job is to figure out how to fit my experiences into a structure that they’ll understand. Not the other way around.
The game has changed and I have to change with it…or it will pass me by.