[00:00:10] Speaker A: Welcome to Carpool Q and A, where we give you one topic in 15 minutes or so to start your day. And each week one of us brings a separate question. The others don't know it ahead of time, and so we just get to popcorn and, and surprise each other and have conversation about it. So today it's my turn. And we've got kids in a wide range of activities, from the arts to sports, whatever.
I played sports growing up and understand that field the best. I also, just by nature, am extremely competitive. And so one line that I've been trying to figure out, and I would love you all's comments on this, maybe this is applicable to everybody out there too, is how do you toe the line between pushing your kids to kind of be the best, try their hardest, get the most out of an activity, and to learn that life skill of trying hard at stuff and being excellent at stuff, and also maintaining relationship and keeping connection and balancing empathy and compassion. So I'll hang up and listen.
[00:01:18] Speaker B: Guys, this is such a good question. I'm thinking about a conversation I had with a mom a couple of weeks ago when we were doing one of our fundraising events and we were just chatting. She had a senior in high school that was finished with this competitive sport that they'd literally been doing since early middle school, and they had like one more semester left of high school and they were ready to be done. And she was like, tana, do I make her finish or do I let her stop? And I was like, I have exactly no know. I do not think there is a right answer to that question. And then all I knew to do was be like, what do you think she needs? And we just sat and talked about what all was going on. And of course there was more to that story, like, relationally and socially, there was more going on.
And then in my own situation, I've had to work through that. And I think we've made different decisions for different kids at different stages and ages and times.
So I think this is a very real question that probably all parents are going to face at some time or another.
You all know this. We had our staff Christmas party here at our house last night, and of course I didn't until the last people left at eleven. We were having a good old time. You all ducked out, but some other people stayed late, sat on the back porch and kept on going. Of course I'm crawling in bed and I look at today's schedule and realize one of our kids had an early morning sports practice that I didn't know or remember was on the schedule. I didn't prep them ahead of time. I didn't tell them before they went to bed. They stayed up very late. So I was literally faced with this thing this morning. Do I wake them up early? Do I tell them they need to go? Or do I sort of let this one slide? And it's that exact principle, JD, of, like, what's the commitment to the team? Sadly, this kid, I woke up and wasn't feeling their best. Like, we didn't go today, but Mo and I were like, this isn't what you should do for team sports. They're part of a team. They need to get up and go. And so we literally woke up with this exact tension this morning.
They stayed home today, and I felt bad. I was like, maybe we should have pushed. What lesson did we accidentally teach them this morning by accident? I don't know. So this is tricky. One.
[00:03:48] Speaker C: It's a really good question, JD. I think the question. So something that we talk about a lot is this idea of, like, positive stress helps us grow.
And the question is really, like, when is it positive stress that's helping them grow? Because we have to face challenges. Like, if we protect our kid from every uncomfortable feeling, we are not allowing them to grow.
And that can happen if we're not thoughtful and careful. On the flip side, if we push our kids too far, that can become what's called toxic stress, and that can become chronic, and it can cause lots of challenges.
The first thing that comes to mind, feel free to disagree, you guys. Since we do it, the first thing that comes to mind is, like, you probably have a tendency.
I was raised in a Tarleton's don't quit household. I went to school once, immediately went to the nurse and had 103 fever because my family thought I was faking it because I like to read. And they thought, she just wants to read the new book. She got get up and go to school, and I had 103 fever. Thank you.
[00:05:00] Speaker B: I love it.
[00:05:00] Speaker C: I am not a parent yet, but probably I will bring that history to my parenting. And you probably lean one way or the other, so you're probably either a. You show up no matter what family, or you might be a. It's always optional, honey. Family. And there's extremes, and both of those are good at times. But I think. I can't answer your question, JD, but I can just say, you know, you. So, you know, if you're kind of the. I always let them off the hook. And so really, they have not learned. And we'll just play it all the way out into adulthood. That could be the kid that can't hold a job, because they can't. Because every time they don't want to go to work, they call in. We talk about often lots of work that we do is mean and rich and full, and there's a little bit of drudgery, and you don't always want to do it, and you still have to.
That's a life lesson if you are blessed. But if you are the, like, you better go quit. You probably lighten up a little bit. You probably need to be okay sometimes letting them off the hook and letting them have a different decision. But I think matters is your kid and their character and growth.
To me, that always outweighs. I mean, that's a personal opinion. It's not everyone's opinion. I never think that the sport or the dance team or the musical band or anybody takes priority over that kid's well being. So you do need to pay attention. Your specific kid and how they're doing.
There's lots of ways you can live it out. But my knee jerk is just which extreme do you lean towards? You probably need to move a little bit towards the middle.
[00:06:46] Speaker A: Yeah. And the thing that we have brought this out specifically in our family has been as our kids have gotten into elevated levels of whatever stuff, higher levels of. We have one kid who dances, and they dance with kids that are multiple years older than him. Right.
That kid is dealing with challenges in keeping up with kids a lot older than them, and because he's skilled and so same with, as our other kids have gotten into that kind of middle school age, and there's middle school sports, the intensity ramps up a lot, says a dad who got kicked out of a middle school soccer game last year for yelling at referee hand up. That was me.
It was not anything profane that I yelled. I just told him he should pay more attention to the game than to us, and he didn't like that. And so I repeated it so he could hear it again, and then he could give me the boot.
[00:07:46] Speaker B: So I kind of wish I would have been there.
I wasn't on that.
On that Saturday morning, I was defending.
[00:07:56] Speaker A: The honor of one of our coworkers, our coworkers. One of our therapists, her son played in the team. He got an elbow to the back of the head, and so I just voiced my displeasure with that. And so I was defending his honor, and it was a very long walk of shame out of that soccer stadium, I'll tell you that right now.
So I am just an intense person, but there are points of regret that I had as I got older where I could see my parents let me off the hook in some of that kind of last 10% of what it takes to really learn how to push and grow. I had a few coaches who did not let us off the hook in that, and I love them for that today. So I think there's that balance. Those coaches I think of, though, also were very nurturing to us emotionally. So on the other side of that, screaming and yelling in practices and pushing for what I ran a lot. So like one more mile or one more lap or one more interval or whatever, all of that yelling then will usually couple with. In the summers, it was after that we would go to our coaches pool and have pizza and hang out and play pool, basketball and all that. So there was relationship that accompanied that. So it created an environment where I would listen a little bit better and I would hold to those. I wanted to give better effort for that coach at the end. And then I saw the personal results at races and meets and all that.
I feel like we're talking all over the place about this. For me, one of those lines, and I don't feel like I'll ever master this, but one of the lines that has been really helpful has been that we have really tried to be more on the kids. Let the kids lead into what level of intensity they want to train and practice at. And then when they kind of have the information and make a commitment to train at whatever certain level we're going to, then hold them on.
Gosh. Middle school, cross country Saturday mornings all fall at 07:00 a.m. They have practice 30 minutes away from our house, so they're waking up earlier than they do on school days. On Saturday mornings to go out, usually in the Memphis heat, it's already like 95 degrees by 07:00 a.m. And they are running whatever, so they will make the decision, hey, I do want to do this. I do want to get better. I do want those Saturday morning practices. I want to do it. And then it comes time to actually hold them to it. And so we have been pretty good about holding them to it outside of if they're sick or whatever. So that's been our line so far. I'll just kind of offer that as much as I can. I don't know if you all have any closing.
[00:10:40] Speaker B: I like what you said, jd, because I think about that initial decision, and one of our particular kiddos is just very naturally athletic. They're very gifted and wired in an athletic way.
And so naturally, I'm like, oh, this is going to be fun.
I'm celebrating. I mean, it's not all pure you all, but of course, I'm, like, celebrating their athleticism, and I'm thinking, oh, this is going to be a really fun kiddo to watch go through athletics, right? They participated a little early on and then opted out of everything.
And I was like, oh, man, we missed, like, two school years of any participation. And I went and talked to one of the female coaches at the school and was like, what do you think here? Because they know this, kiddo. And they were like, don't too young. Don't push them, or they're not going to want to come back. And so, you know what? We spent, like, a couple of years.
We were not in therapy because of this, but in our counseling sessions, talked a lot about that experience of competition. And there was, like, stuff there that needed some care and attention.
There was some emotional stuff connected. Their body was ready and could have beat everybody, but emotional and heart just wasn't quite up to that level of competition. So we took care of their heart, and now they're back out on the court and out in the. So, like, I know we did that. Okay.
I think that's what I really like, that delineation. You said, jd, of, like, you gave them choice to participate, then you provided that support to stick with that commitment, and there might be a time when they opt out. And I'm just going to name that. That was real sad for me. And I had a little fomo, and I wasn't out cheering cross country and at the back, and I was feeling left out of the team and the parents, and I was sad. And I'm like, oh, tana, you are way too invested in these elementary athletics, but it does become, like a community.
[00:12:54] Speaker A: Oh, totally.
[00:12:55] Speaker B: It is a whole thing, but just, I don't know. I go easy. I, like, becca, like, know your tendency, because mine might be to go easy if I'm just thinking about the kid. And then I was, like, trying to manipulate participation because I wanted to go and do it, too.
We're up in the middle of all.
[00:13:17] Speaker A: That, by the way. Fun watching your kids be good at stuff.
[00:13:20] Speaker B: It is.
[00:13:20] Speaker C: And they're so naturally gifted.
[00:13:22] Speaker B: I was like, everybody will know your name if you'll just get out there and do your thing.
[00:13:29] Speaker A: That's terrifying.
[00:13:30] Speaker B: I know that one.
[00:13:38] Speaker A: Well, in closing, I'll just say this.
We just today finished a basketball season, and this one kid who probably is not the best natural athlete in our family, was so persistent and so committed to working in every practice and then asking the coach for help on certain things and always asking where she's supposed to be and always ask.
Just use that time practice so well and was so committed there. And today scored. And again, I realized even in my.
[00:14:16] Speaker B: Celebrate it, JD. We can celebrate.
[00:14:18] Speaker A: Celebrate it. She scored the winning basket in her last game and so they are in the season on a win and she was the reason for it. And that was awesome. And that's not to say that's the goal of parenting, obviously, but it was really fun to watch her have some competency that she built from doing a whole bunch of work on days and times where she really probably didn't want to. Right. And same for another kid pr'd in every race this year because it's like that work.
[00:14:50] Speaker B: Before we totally close, I'm going to ask for one additional minute past our 15. This can also be the case if you have a child that is naturally wired for academics.
[00:15:00] Speaker A: Yes.
[00:15:01] Speaker B: It's the exact same principle because this would be another one of our kiddos. Like that competitive spirit is 100% about grades.
[00:15:08] Speaker A: Yes.
[00:15:09] Speaker B: So same thing. Competed in the little spelling beat and it was getting close. And I'm like, love, you've got a choice to make. Your name is on the list.
How much are we studying? You have to decide how you want to feel when you're standing up in front of the group of kids.
I don't think it's just sports. I think this is sort of a principle around nurturing those things in them. And when do you push in and push towards the thing that you think they're just naturally wired at? And when do you give them some time to develop and grow towards it a little on their own? So this same concept, same idea can also be applied, I think, in other sort of extracurriculars or hobbies or a pull towards athletics or arts or really kind of anything.
[00:16:00] Speaker A: Yeah.
[00:16:01] Speaker C: My closing, closing thought is pay attention to yourself. Pay attention to your kid.
Some kids are super driven and they're going to beat themselves up and be really hard on themselves, and they need more of you coaching them through that shame and the embarrassment and the never good enough. Other kids are less driven by externs.
Might need a little bit more encouragement to do something that has a little bit of stakes to it, to participate or finish something out, even when it wasn't as fun as they thought it would be. And so pay attention to yourself, pay attention to your kid. Um, nobody gets it right. We just do the best we can, right?
[00:16:43] Speaker A: Yeah.
[00:16:44] Speaker B: And we know that those extra things are like building character. So if you can keep that area of growth as the most, like, let that trump their performance. Yeah, let their character and health and well being and connection trumpet, and then go a season of having a little FoMO and sitting on the sidelines without.
[00:17:10] Speaker A: Your baby out there doing their thing anyway. And last thought, let them try a bunch of stuff as they're younger and just exploring stuff.
And don't try the best you can not to get sucked into the kind of world of having to over specialize in your thing at such a young age that all kind of studies are coming out now talking about especially athletics, like varying your experiences for your body's own sake of developing, growing. But I think that works for your mind, for your emotions as well. And that, like you said, tom, that applies to arts athletics, to academics, to social settings, like, giving your kids exposed you to different worlds is almost always a really good experience. So for Becca, for Tana, for everybody here at DTC, I'm JD, and we'll see you next week on carpool. Q A.