Yesterday I ran Parkrun with my six-year-old daughter. As we approached the final steep hill, I shared with her that when I was her age, I could not run that distance. It was both an honest and encouraging moment. She had run the entire course with focus, determination, and consistent pacing without any direction from me, setting a new personal best of 31:56.
On my run this morning I was still reflecting on this experience. I realized how much has changed since I was a child. Children today have access to so many sports opportunities, and they are actively encouraged by parents to pursue them. It's exciting to think that my kids will soon be mentally resilient and physically capable of taking me on in many other sports.
However, I also recognize the potential downside of kids becoming competitive too early and giving too much importance to their placement in races and competitions, particularly nowadays where the "average level" is so high.
I have already seen some signs of my kids measuring self-worth against the performance of others, which is why I am paying close attention to the way I talk about sports with them. I want to emphasize effort and commitment over results and maintain a growth mindset.
It's a challenging task for me, as I am an ultra-competitive person, especially in my running.
So I need to get out of my comfort zone and recalibrate.
The joy of having children, when you let them lead it opens the opportunity for you to learn.