Thursday, 18 September 2008

The Perennial Parent Problem!

As a parent, helping your child reach his or her fullest potential - and to grow up happy! - is perhaps the most challenging and difficult task (job?) you would ever have. And yet in today's world with ever geater demands of time due to technology and globalisation, often both parents struggle with full time careers while still bringing up a family.

Now, throw in the extra component of nurturing young sports talent, even if real as opposed to imagined or hoped for as is often the case (!), it is a miracle indeed if it does not end up a complete mess!

In chess (and it must be the same for other sports), the game's administrators, tournament organisers, and especially the professional coaches clearly further complicate the mix, and yet where it comes to recognising which parents are failing their little "talents" in realising their potential, there seems to be an immediate consensus!

But let me perhaps try and offer some perspective for the chess administrator, tournament organiser, and trainer:

1. He or she is still their child, their responsibility - we can only play our role in relation to the development of the game no matter what our agenda/role might be (national promotion, child enrichment, successful international participation, etc.).

2. For every champion, there have been (and will always be!) literally thousands who started the same journey and fell by the wayside for whatever reason - we only see the few at the top of a very large pyramid and so can only guess at the many tragic stories (the sacrifices, bad luck, etc.) of those many who did not make it - although sometimes we get to learn about it because they almost did!

3. And if you have a child, really how good a job are you doing with your own young superstar?

My advice: Chess is not life. Just let your child grow up happy!

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