“Go for it” one parent said to his eight-year-old little girl – a lovely, shy, blonde girl who is a year older and at least a head taller than T.
“You can do this!” another one prompted her daughter.
As for us? All we said to T was “Enjoy the run and it doesn’t matter how long you finish, as long as you finish it”. We also told her to stick with her best friend F who was nervous about it. To be fair, T was also a bit scared but she’s known to be one of the fastest in her class. In fact, she surprised everyone by coming in first in last year’s sports day. We thought if they stuck together they can prod one another if the other falls behind.
A day before the visit of the mini-beast from the East, little T and her friends from school participated in a cross country run. This happens yearly when Year 3 students and above are invited to do the run.
It wasn’t just the kids who were nervous. We, the parents were also the same especially since the kids who joined from T’s class was their first time in joining too. No one (apart from the older kids who’ve joined last year) were familiar with the track and what to expect.
And then they were gone… all 800 kids from all over Cornwall participated, some had their parents run with them as well. My husband and I joined the other parents from T’s school. We chatted as we waited and then after a while, some kids were already coming in. We were impressed with their speed. Then kids from T’s school started running past, we all cheered for them of course, even the ones who were from other schools.
Small kids, older kids started running past, even a man in a dinosaur costume sped by. Still there was no sign of T and her best-friend F. I was starting to worry and then I spotted her from afar.
My camera didn’t focus. She’s the girl in blue behind the blonde little girl. I called out to her, she saw me and didn’t even blink and sprinted past us, who were cheering loudly.
All the of the kids were covered in mud. Now I understand why they had to tape their shoes on, some kids ran holding their shoes, they must have gotten stuck in the mud.
We were so proud of our little girl as she came in at 545. Her other friends came in way before her, but it didn’t matter. She said she stuck with her friend F, but got separated from him by the river. When she couldn’t see him, she decided to ran as fast as she could. That’s her waiting to see if F came in. He wasn’t that far off from her.
All of them did really well actually, although later on, I did wonder whether we are teaching our daughter to be mediocre? Is it bad that we don’t push her? We never say “Go for it!”. We never push her to win. We always say – have fun, enjoy it. As parents, we don’t like putting pressure in anything that little T does, especially since we know some parents in her school do that to their kids. We may not push her to win, but we do encourage her to always do the best that she can. Isn’t that enough?
What about you?
Do you tell your child to go for it, or to have fun and enjoy the experience?