May not be such a great idea after all.
Recent high-profile studies have found that children exposed to unqualified praise are less likely to push themselves academically, and that children who are coddled and overprotected are growing up anxious and irresponsible.This makes perfect sense to me.
My son has been a huge football fan since he was six years old. He's been, despite their record, a faithful Raiders booster and we watch NFL ball religiously during the season.
It just seemed inevitable that he would one day play full-contact, balls to the wall, don't scrimp on the mouthpiece tackle football.
Unlike soccer... another very popular game in the area... where parents rush onto the field every time little Timmy trips over his own feet... my son is learning how to block and tackle, how to push the envelope... and just as importantly, how to take a "good hit" without falling to pieces.
He's also learning that you can be "larger than yourself"... about being part of a finely tuned, well oiled machine.
He's come to the point where he has a real sense of satisfaction when he gets through a two hour practice... all the more, from knowing it wasn't a walk in the park.
It was tough enough... that he didn't really want to go back after the first practice. I ended up making a deal with him, that after showing up and doing half of the second round... he could tell the coach he wanted out.
It was a gamble, but when we went to leave that night and the coach said to him, "We'll see you next time", he said, "Yup, I'll be there."
And that's the point. If it was easy, anyone could do it.
It's the sort of thing we did without a second thought when I was a kid.
We climbed trees... hell... we jumped out of trees... while holding the ends of springy branches. We rode our bikes twenty miles round-trip to the local conservation area. We made zip-guns out of wood and elastic and we had "wars." We took our air rifles out on safari.
There was no physically neutered, politically correct, ego-boosting pap like "Circle of Friends." We played "ball tag"... where instead of tagging someone with your hand, you used a rubber ball... which, skillfully and mercilessly flung, had the potential to knock your target clean out of his "PF Flyers."
And I'm sure my mother's blood pressure soared every time she saw her seven year-old son climb over the the second floor balcony rail, to head out to the playground... but, to her credit, she never once tried to stop me.
And I think... I'm a better person for it.