Our parents have to remind us to “have fun” and coaches feel the need to tell us,
“Remember: go out there and have fun.”
Did I miss something? Is fun something kids have to be trained for and constantly reminded of because they seem to lose that skill over time?
My kids are 6 and 8 and when they come to me and say,
“We’re bored. What should we do?”
I say, “Go be kids”.
And sure enough, I’ll find them a few minutes later having created a wolf den out of an Amazon box and they’re hunting wolves with sticks/lightsabers they found outside. Children naturally slide into the state known as “play”. It’s literally their essence.
And we take that from them in so many ways at such an early age. When I have spoken to groups of professional players, I’ll often ask,
“When did the game become work?”
And they often respond with numbers like age 6, 7 or 8. Think about that?
Said more simply, a child is a child until they are no longer a child….or until we make them grow up.
We can create a world where parents and coaches and directors and board members of youth clubs have a profound understanding and respect for a child’s need to play. It begins with turning our educational energies away from the kids for a while and turning it towards our parents and coaches.
For once, let’s develop parents that are awake and healthy in their approach to youth soccer.
Let’s develop coaches who understand the multi-dimensional psychology of how kids grow and develop into healthy adults.
With great power comes great responsibility, remember? We as the adults here need to take responsibility for the damage we do to kids in our desperation to make them AWESOME.