The Car Ride Home Part 2: Opinions

The car ride home is an experience that helps define a parent / child relationship. Here are six topics that have helped me improve myself, understand my son better and allowed him to challenge himself to be the best athlete he can be. This is your second ride sitting in the backseat of my car listening in on our relationship. And if you’re wondering… yes, he did agree to everything written.

Part 2) Why you need to keep your opinions to yourself.

Opinions. Everybody has one, two, or a lot to share. You may not think you’ve got strong, adamant opinions; you may not think you blurt them out; you may think you have your tongue under control. You may even think, “So what? I’m entitled to my opinion and I’m free to express it!"

I was driving my son home from a baseball game and I asked him, “What did the coach say afterwards to the team? Did he bring up some of the same old stuff again?”

“Yeah he did,” my son said, “and he also challenged me to yell out to the other outfielders to whether they should go back or come in on the fly balls.”

“You always yell out,” I said.

“Yep, that’s what I always do,” he said.

“Did you say anything to the coach?”

“No, I just accepted it because he brought it up in front of the team and I wasn’t going to be defensive back to him.”

This is where I stated my opinion:

“The coach should have asked you first whether you call out or not and then say something after he heard your answer.”

My son said nothing.

And this is where I really stated my opinion and blurted out something derogative,

"Rookie coach error.” I muttered.

I knew the moment I said it this would not be helpful to my son. He hears enough conflicting information from various coaches at different levels already. This wasn’t fair to him and it certainly wasn’t fair to his coach. I could learn a few things from my son by keeping my mouth shut like he did.

He didn’t let his disagreement with the coach affect him. He didn’t like it, but he got it off his chest with me. That was the end of it for him.

Not me. No way. I had to say something in response—something not helpful. I even thought for a moment to bring the issue up with the coach. I would have been cool, calm and collected.

But, I was about to become one of those parents.

I should have said, “If you disagree with your coach than maybe you can talk quietly with him during the week. If you feel neither here nor there about it, well done! You’ve taken it on the chin and you can move on.”

I spoke to him the next day and apologized for my arrogant opinion of the coach. The coach deserves every respect and honor; he gives up a tremendous amount of his time and energy to manage the team to the best of his ability.

No one is excused from the responsibility of monitoring our personal opinions. We can freely give them but are they constructive or destructive? Are our opinions beneficial or belittling?

Mark Maguire

(You can contact me at maguireonfire@bigpond.com if you would like to discuss your experience or dilemma. I’m always open to learning something new and I’m always open to giving time and thought to help)

 


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