It would be wonderful if kids always listened and did what they were supposed to do. It would be wonderful if all the kids they hung around had parents like you. It’d be wonderful if their teachers and coaches knew how to get the best out of them. It’d be wonderful if we didn’t have to worry about trends like underage drinking or people texting and driving.
But we know that this is simply not how things go. They never have, and they never will.
So where does this leave us? It leaves us to focus on the one thing we can control. As Marcus Aurelius (a father of 14) wrote, it doesn’t matter what other people do or say or think, it only matters what you do.
As a parent, Marcus was saying, all we control is what we teach our kids, what we do for and with them. We don’t control who our kids come into contact with. We don’t control most of what happens when they are out there in the world. We don’t control the things other kids say to them. We don’t control whether or not they get coaches who believe in them or teachers who work with them to find their line.
What we control is what we do. What we control is what we say to them. What we control is that they know we believe in them. What we control is the work we put in to help them realize who they are meant to be. What we control is how we play. What we control is how we parent.