I was at a more traditional idea of a gym this morning- you know, the one with the dumbbells, and the mirrors and the people who seem to drape their belongings over multiple pieces of equipment as they seem to have decided that their workout required them to perform 5 reps of something on one side of the gym, and then perform 5 reps of something else COMPLETELY on the other side of the gym.
And of course not put the weights and equipment away, because that would just make too much sense.
Anyway, I digress. While I was doing the working out stuff-and-things, I was in a area with a tv that was running a campaign about childhood sports, and how kids “retire” at a certain age, and how they should be encouraged to continue. While this doesn’t specifically have to do with jiu jitsu, I’m sure there are plenty of kids out there who tried jiu jitsu, really enjoyed it for a period of time and then lost interest. You know, like kids do.
Full disclosure, I have no children but I feel like there’s an unfair pressure that is placed on kids when it comes to activities such as sports. It’s this weight that is put on a child in a variety of ways:
- Sometimes if the kid that excels for his or her age, and so their parents exclaim how they are the next prodigy and force the kid to do nothing but THAT specialized sport, turning what was a fun activity into a chore.
- Other times the parent becomes overzealous and over-competitive, bringing out a side of that adult that really doesn’t make it fun for anyone one. Side note, I think some parents need to chill out at tournaments. Like really, everyone is at a tournament to do their best and have a good time. I think parents sometimes let their competitive nature get the best of them and they end up almost seemingly angry at another child or even their own for something that happened mid-tournament. And funny enough, it seems like more often than not the angriest parents are the ones who don’t train in jiu jitsu themselves. Funny, how that goes.
- Or you know sometimes a kid just doesn’t want to do the thing- people, especially children grow in and out of phases, or maybe just doesn’t have the vocabulary or verbal acumen to properly explain why they don’t want to participate anymore.
I can understand the frustration of a parent who paid a bunch of money in uniforms, classes, sometimes even private lessons, tournaments and travel expenses to get the kid from place to place, but a child doesn’t understand that unless you take the time to explain it to them. And even then it’s not a guarantee that explaining such things would change their mind. It can also be frustrating I would think if you are in jiu jitsu and it was super easy to just enroll your kid in the same academy, and suddenly they don’t want to go to class anymore. Not that anything bad happened to them (goodness, I hope not) but again, kids are kids and their interests wax and wane as they try to figure out who they are as people, and that person just may not be a jiu jitsu person. I know a lot of people have expressed regret at not starting jiu jitsu as a kid, but I don’t agree with putting that kind of responsibility on your child, to carry out your own “coulda, shoulda, woulda” fantasies.
I know this is a lot from someone who doesn’t have kids, really this is more just commentary from the peanut gallery. I think above all else, don’t take the fun out of the sport for the kid by either pushing them to a point where they burn out, and maybe take into consideration that at some point your kid may not find jiu jitsu fun anymore, and that’s okay. Again, literally just a comment from someone on the outside, but I think it would be more beneficial to just encourage the child to engage in some activity, to keep them active and social.
Just my two cents- have a great day everyone!