I went to every one of their games and plenty of their practices. I sat in rainstorms and
watched them roll around on muddy football fields. I stood at the edge of lumpy soccer
fields and watched them kick each other in the shins. I drove through hail to find
basketball courts that had not heat and no zip codes. Just about the only place I never
went was into the coach's office to fight my kids' battles for them. Not because I didn't
care about my kids. But because I did.
My feeling was that there comes a time when parents have to let their kids learn about
life. And high school sports and activities are a great time to start. High School
activities do a lot more than teach kids how to pass, dribble, dance or play an
instrument. It has a lot of other valuable lessons. It teaches them that not all coaches
are fair. Which might ease the shock when they find out that not all bosses are
fair. It teaches them that coaches don't always have the time, or inclination, to
worry about whether something they say might bruise a student's feelings. Which
might prepare them for a world that does not always have the time, or the inclination, to
worry about bruising their feelings.
It teaches them that, no matter how wonderful mommy and daddy have told them they are,
there are plenty of other kids just as wonderful. Which might make it easier for
their egos to handle the blow on the inevitable day they discover that mommy and daddy
were wrong and they are not the center of the universe, after all.
Some parents feel high school is too early for their kids to learn lessons like those. I
think it's almost too late.