(Guest post by Christine Golic)
When Alex contacted me to write about my journey with our two sons and daughter through their athletic lives, my first thought was, “where do I begin?!” The experience of watching my kids chase their dreams taught us all so much and personally opened my eyes to so many things that I am sure I could now write an entire book.
There are a few things that I want most to share with parents from my experiences.
- Enjoy the journey as much as you can. It goes so fast and it’s over in the blink of an eye. Take time to enjoy the little moments no matter how chaotic daily life is for you.
- Realize that you cannot control with whom your children’s paths may cross along the way. Looking back, that’s the one theme that sticks with me. As a mother of three athletes who had big dreams, I did everything I could to help them achieve their goals. The one thing I was naive about, though, is that I believed every person who came in contact with my children would want to help them reach their goals. That’s just not true. Their agenda doesn’t always include what may be in the best interest of your child’s dreams. As a parent, it’s a helpless feeling and as much as you want to be able to control everything, you just can’t. In fact, the older they get and the bigger their dreams get, the less control you have over the process.
- Accept that sometimes you have less control than you’d like. My mistake was that I had painted a picture of how I thought it all should go for my kids and quite often the script didn’t match the reality that unfolded. Steve Jobs, in a commencement speech, talked about how as life progresses, you can look back at specific moments during your life that forever change your path. As I look back over the road of each of their careers, I can point to specific events and people who forever changed the direction of their paths. As a parent there wasn’t one thing I could have done to change any of it and sometimes that is so hard to accept. The older they get, the less control you have and the more others impact their experiences. When there is someone who comes along that impacts them positively, you as a parent are forever grateful; when someone negatively impacts them you want to cry, yell or both.
- Encourage your kids to dream big and work hard to achieve those goals, but write those goals in pencil because very few get the fairy tale ending. No matter what your child’s dream is, go into it as a parent being as supportive as you can, but also be flexible with your expectations of how the story will ultimately be written. Like they say, life happens while we are busy making other plans, and man, it’s so true, so just try to enjoy the ride!
Christine Golic raised three division 1 athletes. She is married to the nicest, most lovable, loudmouth radio host on the planet, former NFL player and current ESPN talent Mike Golic. Her son’s Mike Jr. and Jake played football at Notre Dame and Sydney is currently on the Notre Dame Swim team. Chris is passionate about promoting safety for youth athletes through her work with the NFL’s heads up football program and Safety tag. Follow her on twitter @ndmom1