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Jo, hang in there with your current troubles. I wanted to chime in on this
"male opinion" thing.
First of all to Kevin's statement about your father:
<No offense to your dad, but it sounds like he's fulfilling his *own* dream.
My esteemed collegue from VT recently admonished another poster about his
sweeping political "generalizations", but the good Kevin is guilty of that
A man or woman in a position of coaching a team sport can indeed fall into the
pitfall of "fulfilling his/her own dream" vicariously through the kids. Sure
that can happen. But is a *rule of thumb* because the coach works his players
hard? No. Hell no, fuck no, abso-fucking-lutely not.
I take offense to that because I coached 7-8th grade football for a few years
(I intend to go back to it when my own kids start populating my house), and I
expected my players to work hard, be disciplined, and to give their all.
Problem was, they didn't think they should have to because they didn't have to
at home or at school. And that manner of coaching by the way, has no
connection with my own alleged sporting failures. That coaching philosophy is
based in helping kids have an understanding of what hard work and dedication
is. It teaches them the meaning of sacrifice and the acceptance of winning
and losing. It teaches them to take pride in themselves and their teamates.
And most of all, it teaches them to work as a team. Corny, but fact. Each of
these items are crucial lessons that schools and sadly, most parents do NOT
provide. These lessons are "crucial" because each item I mentioned is a
social skill required by adults to survive in today's society. Your father is
doing these kids a great service, even if the parents hate him for it. And
it's a shame that your father is being considered a dinosaur for taking an
interest in these kids future. No it's not the contemporary way, but it's a
Remember. School sports aren't just an activity. It's an opportunity to
gather a lot of wisdom, which sadly is becoming a lost concept. If you want
your kids in an "activity" just to keep them busy, try Xbox, not sports.
You say your dad is "old school". Why is that a crime? You father's
generation wasn't "babied" or coddled. In his generation, when they got a
question wrong on the History exam, they got it wrong, unlike these poor kids
today with their delicate self-esteem issues. When he was a kid, if he blew
off basketball practice, he got kicked off the team or punished. The concept
was, if you commit to something, then you commit to it; you don't quit because
you don't like it. He didn't smart off to adults, and he learned consequences
of his actions. Of course he finds kids today weak and irresponsible. Try
and understand his actions by understanding him.
Bobby Knight on valium...that was funny. Consider this scenario...
You yourself said that he's the dominant male figure in your kids' lives,
right? Do you think that he may realize that too? And if he does, do you
think it would be in his best interest to be a little harder on the kids so
that they may learn a few Life's Lessons, just like he did? It's a method
that worked for him so he's using on them. He's preparing them for adulthood
and survival. Sports are a PERFECT parallel to the REAL WORLD when you are a
coach. So many little things in life can be illustrated through sport and
most coaches, good coaches, know this. This makes them teachers as much as it
makes them the stereotyped washed up jock who harasses kids because of his own
failures in sports. I don't know your father, but I'm willing to bet he feels
more like the former than the latter. And going a step further, I LIKE your
father. I wish there were more of him around today. In my life, one of my
GREATEST teachers was my 8th grade football coach. He didn't take a
particular interest in my indiviuality, he taught us all.
Your dad is not doing it the "politically correct" way, he's doing it (and get
this) - THE ONLY WAY HE KNOWS HOW. And if he ruffles a few of those gentle
feathers, then so be it. Your kids will be better off for it; that's my
opinion anyway. Political correctness, (and thank God, Allah, Yaweah, the
Great Spirit, et al), is on its way out. We're worse off as a people because
of the stifling affect it has left us with, but if there's a single ray of
sunlight on the horizon, it's because PC is on its way out. I pray...I
pray...I pray... Funny how the "old school" way has somehow survived the PC
Way's attempt to kill it. My wife and I are going to start our own family in
the summer and God willing, we won't have to deal with PC-ness. I'm glad your
old man stuck to his guns.
As for your son's worries about never being able to make his grandfather
"proud" of him. Gramps already is. Believe me. If you don't, ask him.
Gramps isn't of the generation who showers kids with hollow praise like it is
today, so the poor kid shouldn't expect that. Do you think when your kid
grows up and screws up at work, his boss is going to let him off the hook out
of fear of damaging someone's self esteem??? Perhaps your dad should tell him
once in a while that he's proud, but you must understand your father's belief
that he shouldn't over-do it too.
My own father was the EXACT same way. When I was your son's age, I joined
football for the first time. Was my dad "proud"? No. Instead of "good boy
Jimmy", he told me that I would probably quit in a week. When I had a good
game, I'd say, "what do you think dad?" And he'd say, "You missed a tackle in
the 3rd Quarter." Strange, as I got older, I could see that it was my dad's
not-so-graceful attempt at motivating me to work hard and fulfill my
committments. Am I scarred because my dad didn't shower me with adoration?
No. Not in the least. It may have been awkward at this, but I know now that
my dad did the best that he could and despite his mistakes, he was right more
often than not. I love my father and carry no residual monkeys on my back
because of his "old school" manner of teaching me how to be responsible.
Hopefully your kids will grow up and realize that their Grampa was doing his
best for them.
Don't I sound like an "old school" old fart? Well, I'm your age Deary. But
thanks to the "old school" way, I know right from wrong. I don't quit when I
commit. I understand that Life is hard - damn hard, and I was well prepared
to handle it because of the old school way. I got my ass beat on a daily
basis thanks to 12 years of the Catholic-way of old schooling, and get this -
I'm better off for it.
Give the old goat his due Jo. We are encouraged, as adults, to understand
people of all ages. But somehow at times, we forget about the ones closest to
us. Give him a hug and a kiss because from what you described to me - your
kids are VERY lucky to have him. Your boy may tell you that too, in the next
10-15 years or so. If he learns a few lessons along the way, that is.
Jim in Colorado