My father shared these words with my Mom and siblings shortly before he passed. My father was most proud of having raised seven children that all get along. (Note: six boys and Molly, captain of Brown Women’s Ice Hockey ’95). All of us played youth hockey growing up and my mother or father drove us to every game. A conservative estimate would place my father at 2,000 or more hockey games.
I share his words with hockey parents as often as I can. When parents ask me what they can do for their children as a hockey parent, I simply respond, “The responsibility of a parent is to provide opportunity and encouragement.” Providing opportunity is signing your child up for a program and driving them to practices, games and training sessions. Nothing more than that. Encouragement should always be positive and should not be mingled with any coaching pointers. One of my father’s favorite lines of encouragement was, “Keep doing what you’re doing!”, offered with a smile. I love this quote. Simple and impossible to be misconstrued by a child.
I was a truculent child. Yet my father never let my ill manners affect his approach to parenting. He was true to his ideal of providing opportunity and encouragement. And even though my father did not have a hockey background, it was his approval that I sought and valued the most. When one is able to manifest one’s unconditional love for their child in the form of opportunity and encouragement, the child will remember those gifts forever. Try it and if you are already doing it, “Keep doing what you’re doing!”.