Yesterday was James' last toddler golf class. We met at the park district's mini-golf course to test his skills. James picked an orange golf club and a blue ball (his favorite color). Then we headed out to the course.
With company in town, we had missed two of the classes, so I knew James was clueless at golf. I'm not a golfer, so I'm pretty clueless, too. We got to the first hole, and I told James to put the ball down on the marker and then hit toward the hole. I soon noticed that James still wanted to hold the club in front of him like it was a crochet club.
I grabbed him and made him stand perpendicular to the ball and then swing. It wasn't natural to James at all.
Then we caught up to a mom with her own 3-year-old. I smiled, thinking, how fun--let's take our toddlers mini golfing. But she was taking this much more seriously. Her son had his very own golf club, which he proudly showed me. She asked us to go ahead of her so we wouldn't intefere with her and her son's golf game.
Our conversation got me nervous. I felt like I need to stay out of her way, which is ridiculous because I'm dealing with a 3-year-old who has never played mini-golf before. The fun of the whole experience just drained away. Soon I was barking orders to James--"Don't pick up the ball!" "Stand like this!" "Hold the club like this!"
What had gotten into me? I could care less about golf--why was I trying to turn James into the next Tiger Woods?
Luckily, my friend and her two kids walked up to us, and that snapped me out of my competitive mind frame. We caught up with each other's lives, and soon I forgot to tell James what to do. He was having a great time hitting the ball in his own special way and getting it into the hole. At one point he and my friend's son were battling over the ball like it was a hockey puck instead of a golf ball.
When James managed to get the ball in the hole, he jumped up and down for joy. We clapped for him like he just make a hole in one at the U.S. Open.
This experience made me realize how easy it is as parents to let our insecurities interfere with our childrens' lives. As much as we want to support our kids, we also don't want to be shown up by other parents. And those feelings suck the joy out of just being with our kids.
3 hours ago