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Finding their Niche

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The Olympics are almost upon us. Athletes traveling to Russia have been training for most of their lives for what will take place in less than two weeks. It's both amazing and admirable to think about the time and effort each competitor puts into becoming one of the best in the world in their particular event(s). So let me just say in advance, congratulations to each and every one of them. You can be proud of your accomplishments.

As adults we watch the competitions rooting for our favorites. We become self-imposed judges and critics. We admire the skills displayed and hope for gold for the good ole USA. But what about our children? How do they watch the Olympics?

Statistics show that after the Olympic games, there is a noticeable increase in the enrollments of swimming teams, gymnastics and skating programs, youth hockey and basketball and any other sport in which our country either dominates or has an athlete that stands out among the rest. This increased interest can be summed up in three words. Hopes and dreams.

As our children are watching the Olympics, they begin to dream about being good...even great at something-something like figure skating or diving or hockey or track or snow boarding or.... Our children hope and dream to become great at being somebody.

As parents it is our job to help our children find what it is they dream to become. It is our job to give them encouragement and opportunities to explore who they are and what they can become. We are essentially the springboard from which they take off to live their dreams.

This job of being a springboard does not mean we have to pour time, money and energy into their every whim. That's not good for anyone-including your child. This job does not give us the right to push them to become the best at something they don't enjoy or don't want to be the best at. No, to be a springboard to our child's dreams means we will help them explore what it takes to be excel at something and allow them to experience whatever 'it' in as many ways as possible. We should also love them enough to encourage their efforts but to not give them false hopes and to help them see when or if it is time to move on.

Every child deserves to have their own little niche in this world; something they take great pride in doing and that brings them a sense of pride and accomplishment. For some it will be some type of sport. For others it will be music or art or dance or acting or being a natural when it comes to caring for children, animals or making things grow. What it is doesn't matter. What matters is that you nurture your child's abilities and allow them to become the greatest 'them' they can be.

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