I think I explained my struggle best in my final video interview when I said, "I tended to focus on all of the things I couldn't control. I focused on whether or not he made a team, if he had a good game, if he was getting enough ice time and there was nothing I could do about those things. I would get myself pretty wound up. What I realize as I look back is that the things I could control were the car rides, the times spent with other teammates, other friends, our family time, making sure he had a great meal before he went and a positive experience when he got in the car on the way home. Hockey is a great experience for our kids and an amazing experience for us parents so we need to focus on the right things so we can keep it fun."
One of the best examples of my need to control the outcome came when my son didn't get picked for a team that I thought he should have. I talked to my husband at length about my frustration over the fact that he got cut. I told him that I felt we should have a meeting with the coach or send an email for an explanation as to why he made that decision. In truth, he had already explained to our son why he didn't take him and I simply didn't like the explanation. I strongly felt that by having a meeting I could somehow take control and change the outcome. It was then that my husband sat me down and said, "What are you looking for this coach to say?" I told him that I wanted him to explain his reasons for cutting him. To which he said, "He's made his decision. It was up to Brock to make the team and he didn't. Just because you don't like his explanation doesn't mean his wrong." Then he said something I'll never forget, "Instead of pushing to change the coach's decision, why don't you embrace where Brock is playing and enjoy it." OUCH! He was so right; in trying to control the outcome I totally missed the chance to praise my son for how well he handled being cut and for his determination to get better.
It took me 10 years and 10 lessons to get to the point that I realized that as a parent I had very little control over my son's hockey career. What I could do as a parent was make sure he had the resources he needed to play. I could drive him to his workouts, make sure he had good equipment and I could always ensure he made it to the rink on time. At the end of the day, his abilities and his love of the game were going to get him where he needed to go and that part was completely out of my control.
One of my favorite excerpts from the book is in lesson 10 and it reads, "Enjoy whatever level your child is at, watch them thrive, smile, have fun and be part of the experience that will stay with him or her for their whole life. Don't try and achieve it for your kids; let them get wherever they need to go on their own with you smiling proudly beside them."
Bottom line is this: let go of the control you never had in the first place.
By Allyson Tufts
For more information on the
Lessons From Behind the Glass
video series, please visit the
BC Hockey website