Friday, November 18, 2011

The Art Of Being A Good Spectator Parent

I admit it, I am a Bostonian and I am not into baseball, there I said it, don't hold it against me. But for those of you who are into baseball, today will be my Red Sox reference day. My favorite part of reading the Boston Globe with my morning coffee, after reading depressing news stories, is the Names page, which is really just a mini-gossip rag at the end of the Metro section. There is nothing like a little bit of good ole fashioned gossip to start off your day. For instance today I read about Demi and Ashton breaking up. I think I'll get over it. Also on today's Names page is a front and center picture of Terry Francona (for those of you like me, who have no idea who that is, he is the newly former Red Sox manager). The caption under this picture is "Why so glum chum?" Newspaper writers are so clever. But there is Terry, (can I call you Terry?) standing at the back of a group of happy, cheering parents, who are all at their daughters state semi-final volleyball game. Terry's daughter was among the players. His stance and his facial expression remind me of someone who works for the Secret Service; arms folded across his chest, and face completely devoid of any emotion. I hope his daughter didn't glance up to the stands to get Dad's approval, cause he clearly had left the building. And according to one source, (after all this is a newspaper story) he was texting on his phone for most of the game.

Before I continue, I would both like to apologize to Terry for using him and his celebrity for this blog, but also I want to thank him for providing me with a concrete example of how not to to be a spectator at your teen's sporting event. Parents, shut off and put away your phones, and put your game face on when your job, for just one hour, is to give your teen your undivided attention. I know sometimes these games can get boring, and checking for e-mail or returning texts seems like it is more important...but it isn't. Even though your teen might have expressed an "I don't care attitude" about you even attending their game, they care! And if they choose that exact minute to look around for you in the stands when you are checking your phone for that all-important text message or e-mail, you're screwed! Though they may not ask for you to come, or may even have told you not to come, they want you there. They want you there to cheer for them when they do good, or be supportive and sympathetic when they don't. They don't need you to be one of those, screaming in your face cheering kind of parent, in fact they would probably be happier if you weren't that parent. But they do want you to be attentive and present! Remember the, WATCH ME, WATCH ME, of their childhood, they are still wanting that from you. There's nothing that says I'm not really that interested in what you are doing, like being on your phone, or being so engrossed in a conversation with a friend while they are playing their ass off. Every now and then, your teen wants to be your number 1. It doesn't really happen that often, because most of the time they basically want to be invisible to you so they can get on with the business of being a teen.

So just like with my college students, If I am at that game, and I see you texting or e-mailing on your phone, I am going to take it away from you until the end of class.

No comments:

Post a Comment