Living Vicariously Through Your Children

by beagooddad on August 30, 2006

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This post over at Pass The Torch got me thinking about how I would react to my kids developing interests in some of the things I liked as a kid.

My kids like to watch me shoot baskets in the driveway.  Pookie thinks it is hysterical when the ball clangs off the rim…not that it happens that often of course.  They both love being lifted so that they can do their monster dunks.  They have their own little hoop that we set up in the driveway that they like to play with, too.  Everything is very casual.

A couple weeks ago, Geetle was trying to dribble the ball before taking a shot.  She would get one dribble in before the ball ran away.  I helped her by holding her hands while we dribbled.  After a couple minutes, she could do about three dribbles before losing the ball.  Pookie looked interested so I helped him and he quickly learned how to dribble a little bit, too.

Good parenting so far.

I watched them play for a while remembering the thousands of hours I played basketball as a kid.  All the drills at the play ground, varsity games in high school.  A whole lot of work went into turning me into a decent player and I loved every second of it.  It made me happy that they were experiencing some small measure of that same joy.

My dad was a baseball guy when he was a kid and that’s the sport I started with.  When I made the switch to basketball, he was probably a little bummed, but never let it show.  He never tried to get me to stay with baseball and he was more than willing to play basketball in the driveway with me.

A couple days after the kids wanted to learn how to dribble, we were out playing in the front yard again.  Geetle picked up the ball and tried to dribble.  She is going through a phase where she acts frustrated when she can’t do something.  After having the ball repeatedly bounce away, she slumped her shoulders, sighed and walked away.

I had a decision to make.  Should I try to coax her back to the basketball and try to make dribbling the ball fun?  Should I tell her she just needs to stick with it and keep practicing?  Should I tell her to quit being a weinie?

She’s three.  Her mind changes about every 5 minutes.  Instead of talking about basketball, I joined her where she was already kicking the soccer ball into the net.

If either shows an interest in playing basketball, I can see myself having a tough time not being a little too supportive.  The sport was just too fun and too big of a part of my life growing up.  I know way too much about what drills and exercises are best.  I remember watching coaches’ sons at basketball camps.  They always seemed to be getting some kind of extra instruction.  The worst was during the games where their dad would ride them a little harder than the rest of us.

I do not want to be that dad.

I think I might secretly hope that they get into soccer, cross country, or band instead.  I enjoyed all of those growing up, but nowhere near as much as basketball.  It would be easier to keep supportive without crossing the line into Bad Dad Territory.

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