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Trying To Get Her To Be Inspired

At age 11, my daughter plays soccer, swims, knows how to ride a bike, plays the flute, knows more about technology than I do and for the most part gets good grades.  Without breaking a sweat, she can pull A's and some B's on her report card with very minimal effort.  She barely, I mean barely practices the flute but when she has to buckle down, she can get her parts memorized and get it right within days.  I know that the band teacher they have chooses more difficult music to play and she plays an open-holed flute which is suppose to be harder too.  She has met every challenge and has done well with everything that I have asked of her.  I didn't accomplish half of the stuff that she has when I was her age.  I'm saying all this not to boast or gloat about my kid.  But because I can't imagine just how much more successful she could be if she really put her mind and effort into everything that she does.  I haven't seen a fire in her eyes yet.  I want her to be passionate about what she does then she would be a heck of a force to deal with.  No, I don't force her to be active in activities that she doesn't want to participate in.  We got rid of a few things to lighten her schedule but she was the one that added more things back to it because she wanted to take part in new stuff.  She wanted to join choir but I had to put the brakes on that as logistically I didn't know how we could have possibly pulled it off.

I'm trying to keep a balance. I don't want to be one of those parents that act as if they're raising a future Olympic athlete. But I'll be damn if she thinks I'm going to allow her to be a slacker.


Mahal1023 Mahal1023 46-50, F 5 Responses Apr 24, 2011

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I do understand your frustration ... but she is her own person ... perhaps she just hasn't found anything which truly inspires her ... her fire and enthusiasm are yet to be ignited so it seems ...

WIB.....we have allowed her to be the one to choose what activities she wants to participate in. The rule has always been that if we sign up for something, we commit to it for the entire season and that one of the things she picks has to be a physical activity. I've seen so many kids sign up for things and then drop out. At age 11, I'm not expecting her to figure out what she wants to do the rest of her life. I see the fire and enthusiasm from all the other kids her age..even younger that participate in the same sports as she does but I have yet to see that from her in anything.

But the enthusiasm has to come from her not from her parents. As a young teen she will be battling hormones - true that "the world doesn't stop because of your monthly cycle" but it does affect some people quite profoundly. At eleven her cycle isn't even properly established yet. She's going through tremendous change. I suggest a step back and allow her to find her own passions. You can encourage her but you can't force her. Remember that she is not you or her father ... she is her own person ... she will find her own way ... but it has to be her way. I do understand your frustration, but eleven is still very young ... not everyone has a clear vision of what they want from their life at that age ... and we have to be careful not to project our own dreams onto our children, even if we see them making what we perceive as mistakes. Her mistakes and shortcomings are HER own and are hers to learn from.

TNP....the biggest argument in the household for awhile had been over allowing her to quit the swim team. She has been swimming competitively for about 3years. I suspect that two of the main reasons she wants to quit is because she's seen other swimmers shave more off of their time than she has and that she is now a young lady who gets her monthly cycle. Everything has come relatively easy for her. My assumption is that she doesn't want to work through it the difficulty of trying to strive for better time. I also want her to know that as a woman the world doesn't stop because of your monthly cycle either. Tired of her constant complaining, her father finally stepped in and said that it was too painful to watch her go through the swim meets and not see her put her effort into it. TO which I replied, well in that case let's just quit everything else because it's killing me to watch her play soccer, band and everything else that she's doing looking as if she's just going through the motions. I see kids with less skill and talent that has played soccer as long as she has go through every game with so much more determination and enthusiasm. I wonder at times if she's emulating something that I'm doing that I don't see. I've often said that for the past decade I've felt as if I was sleepwalking because of my troubled marriage. However, she's always seen me passionate about my job and my volunteer and committee work. Again, I'm not trying to raise an Alpha female but it would be nice to see her inspired to do better and show more enthusiasm and enjoyment in all she does.

Bruce Morton - a Scottish comedian - once spoke of a school friend of his who consistently got "A"s on his school report card - along with comments like "must try harder". This bewildered Bruce. Was there a secret alphabet for the high achievers?<br />
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The fire and the passion will come along in their own time. And if they don't... well, I imagine it must be frustrating for you, but it doesn't really sound like she needs them.