Today’s article was supposed to be about the idea of Daring Greatly.
I was going to tell you how proud I am that you’ve stepped into the ring of being an Amateur and that “it’s not the critic that matters.”
But Kelly Johnson and I had breakfast a couple of weeks ago and the conversation I had with her was what made me realize we need to talk about parents at some point in this series.
I’m pretty sure this is the scariest thing I’ve ever written. (Hi, parents!)
Y’all, we all have them. Whether they’re still alive or in the picture or driving us insane, everyone has (or has had) a biological mother and father.
You wouldn’t be here if not. (I’ll let Jordan explain how that works if you don’t already know.)
The question I want to answer is this: how do Amateurs balance the respect we owe Mom and Dad with the roles of being adults and needing to make decisions on our own?
Where’s the line between regarding their opinions and advice and still being able to make decisions on our own, whether they line up with Mom and Dad’s expectations or not?
I’ll be the first to tell you I’ve walked on both sides of that line, and if we’re going to live at our fullest capacities, it’s worth the tiptoe down this tightrope of balance.
And I wish I could sit here and give a blanket statement about how to do just that, but every pair of parents is different, and it’s more about how we respond to their expectations, suggestions, and boundaries that matters.
Here’s the deal: you’re living in your shoes. They’re not. Chances are, they’ve helped you get those shoes, and one of the most tragic decisions we could make as Amateurs is to fail to acknowledge that.
But those shoes are yours now, and whether it’s your career or serious relationship or the fact that you just graduated last weekend, you’re the one with a head-on view of your environment.
Let your parents love you. Let them provide for you if they’re willing, but don’t let them wriggle into one of your shoes. They won’t fit.
What Kelly and I talked about at breakfast was that we’re both in the process of making some hefty life decisions (like moving to another state, and eloping, and starting new jobs).
We agreed that we want our parents to feel respected in the ways we went about those things, but that ultimately we’re adults now, so happens when our choices aren’t what our parents want?
And this is what I realized: for the most part, adults don’t need training wheels. We need coaches.
A good coach will be your friend, mentor, and number one fan, but they can never put themselves in the game. That’s up to you.
When it comes to parents, I think that’s where we set the boundary: let them coach us, let them celebrate and challenge us, but stepping onto the court or into the ring is up to you, and the moves you make out there are what bring victory or defeat.
We Amateurs have to be mindful that parents can be Amateurs too, and that their roles as Mom and Dad are no easier than ours as their children.
So listen to them; they deserve an ear.
Celebrate them; they deserve to party too.
Ask them for advice and ask them for stories; they’ve seen more of this life than you.
Tell them how you feel. And consider their feelings too.
And if you’re someone without a parental unit who’s in your corner, reach out for one.
Teams fail without good coaching, and I think the same is true for Amateurs.
So put your shoes on, lace up your boots. It’s time to play this Amateur game and play it well.