The Car Ride Home Part 6: Patience

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 sixth 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 6) Why your patience is a huge key with your child.

A while back I spoke with a high performance coach who also happened to be a scout for a Major League club. He observed for many years the anxiety parents struggle with as they watch their kids develop in the game.

He asked me to write something on patience. He just wished parents could be more patient with their young athletes and the process. He wished parents could understand that some kids are not skilled or mentally tough enough for professional baseball. They may be more suited to different levels of college or being a valuable player on a state or  club team.

It’s very hard to see clearly where our child sits in the big scheme of things—next to impossible, actually. I like to think I have an understanding of my son but I know I’m blinded. If I applied the odds of my son making it to the top I should be locked up. I’d be allowing him to throw away years of his life striving for a goal that only 6% of those signed professionally ever achieve: playing on a major league field. That’s why young athletes are encouraged to have backup plans.

I justify my son’s position: he’s an “all or nothing” guy. I also know that’s my characteristic, so I don’t know how much it’s me projecting or him believing it himself. I tell others he’s shooting for the stars and when he falls—as everyone falls at some point—that although the fall will be hard and discouraging, family will be there to support him.

This is his reckless adventure.

If my wife and I are impatient than we can’t keep him on track. Meanwhile, he won’t listen to our words when we do have something to say.

There must be calmness and a resolute smile about our long suffering. Yes, long suffering: an old English interpretation of what patience means. A parent once said to me, “We need to happily suffer together on the sideline.”

Be realistic. This sounds hypocritical coming from a parent who encourages his kid on a reckless adventure, but I’ve received feedback of where my kid sits in comparison to others skill wise, mentally, and in work ethic. I’ve been offended by some truths and wanted to be defensive. Fortunately, I chose to say nothing, feel the internal suffering, and take it as positive input for my son to learn from.

Bottom line, if I don’t show patience, if I don’t seek realistic input from outsiders who can observe my son better than myself, I am only holding him back. It’s a hard truth to swallow.

Allow your child to become a better you.

Allow your child to find their way.

With patience they will listen to you. With impatience they will ignore you.

Mark Maguire

(You can contact me at 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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One Response

  1. This article was right on target. My son have been playing basketball since the 4th grade. Now that he is a teenager, I am the last person he wants to talk basketball with. He just finished his freshman season. At the beginning of the season, I had a talk with myself and promised to not critique the game or offer my opinion. In other words, on our 40 minute ride home I decided that I would allow him to initiative the conversation. Even so, I decided my followup questions would be structured to ask him what he thought. My strategy worked. He eventually opened up to me and most of the time I directed him to talk with the coaches. I was so proud of myself. Though I am (his mom) still the last person he wants to talk to.

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