I read an interesting article this morning on parenting.com, about girls and sports. The blogger obviously has two very athletic girls who like to play sports; she bemoans the fact that society doesn’t seem to be able to reconcile beauty and unisex athleticism. Interesting, but not exactly a groundbreaking discussion.
But what about this? What if you are a fairly athletic mom, who grew up playing sports, excelled at many of them, loved playing them, and have a firm understanding of how integral a part they played in the confident adult you have become? What if you want that same confidence and love of exercise for your daughter?
And what if your daughter couldn’t care less about it?
My son loves sports, loves competition, and is pretty athletic, picking things up quickly, with great hand-to-eye coordination. My daughter just doesn’t have that same ingrained sense of competition or love of sport.
She likes to sing. And dance. And color. And sing. There is a lot of singing.
When I put her on a soccer field, she is oblivious to the ball. She is looking for dandelions in the grass, and perfecting twirling in circles as fast as possible. We say, “Just go out and have a good time.” She says, “I hate soccer.” I am making her play out the season, hoping it will click one day, and knowing it probably won’t, but taking her to the game anyway, because she signed up to be on a team, and at least she is learning something about follow-through and being part of a team, and obligation.
I want her to do some physical activity every season, to learn to make exercise a part of her life. We have done dance. (Suprisingly, she hated it. Evidently, baby girl doesn’t want someone to tell her how to dance.) We will put her on swim team this summer. If nothing else, she gets cheap swim instruction and a practice with friends every day. If she doesn’t want to swim in meets, we won’t make her.
I have thought that maybe she might enjoy karate, or something like that, more than team sports or ball sports.
But there is the dilemma: Am i trying to force something on her that is not in her nature? First and foremost, i am interested in her physical health. Am I wrong to force her to try different sports and activities, in hopes that something will catch her interest? I certainly don’t try to subvert her love of art and music, nor would i want to – they are an important part of who she is. I feel that I nurture those, too, but is it wrong to want to make sure she is physically active and healthy? Or am I doing more damage than good?
What is a mother to do?
And, God forbid, what if my daughter ends up wanting to be a cheerleader? Because, you know that is probably what will happen.