Maybe your kid is into weird stuff. Maybe their heavy metal band sucks—or their talents as a white MC are almost offensive. Maybe you can’t stand the shows they like, or maybe their dream is an unlikely one at best.
What’s your job? Your job is to be a fan. Just be a fan. Of them. Of their talents or lack thereof. Of their chances or lack thereof. We’ve told the story of Jim Valvano’s father. When Jim told him he wanted to win an NCAA championship, his father went into his room, back and suitcase and said, “I’m ready.” He was ready to go and root him on. He believed in his son, however insane the idea was. He was a fan.
But look, this cuts the other way, too. It’s not just about putting up with and encouraging your kids. Maybe you know so much more about this than they do. Maybe they are supremely skilled and have what it takes to go pro. Maybe with the right prodding and the right support they could be truly special. Maybe you can see how they are falling short, maybe you are disappointed in how they played or performed or delivered today.
Guess what? Your job is still to be a fan. They don’t need a drill sergeant in the living room. They don’t need someone calling them out. They don’t need someone telling them the hard truths. They don’t even necessarily need your money to put them in that fancy league, they don’t need you to go in and berate their teachers and demand special treatment. They don’t need you to be obsessed. What they need is a fan. They need someone who supports them. Who loves them. Who is rooting for them. They need a fan with a healthy relationship to the game—not a stalker or a crazy person.
Just be a fan. This is not that complicated.