Sending Our Kids Away for Sports???
REAL Couples – REAL Issues – REAL solutions
This blog is in a series inspired by real conversations between real couples preparing for marriage. The words they have spoken were inspired by using one of the guided conversations that comes from a self-guided course available at www.OnlineMarriagePreparation.com.
STEP ONE: How do we define our issue?
HE is a hockey player and has played all his life. When he was 16 years old and a junior in high school he moved away from home to play on a junior hockey team and lived with a housing family. SHE, right now, does not feel comfortable allowing her future children to move away from home prior to finishing high school.
STEP TWO: Why is this important to me/us?
Bride: I did not grow up in a family that had hockey players. To me, the idea of sending my children away from home at such a young age is a foreign and scary thought. I want to be there for my kids constantly. I want to be able to raise them during some of the more crucial years in their lives, I want to continue to build a relationship with them before they move away and go to college or begin their career and if they play sports, I want to be able to go to all of their games and support them. My fiancé has grown up around hockey his entire life. The idea of moving away from home to live with another family to play hockey is normal for him. He wants to give our kids the choice to do what they want to do. I really don’t think that children are capable of making decisions for themselves at such a young age. Family is so important to me and I want to be able to spend as much time with my family as possible.
Groom: If I could do it all over again I would not change a thing. I lived with amazing families and met awesome people. The experience allowed me to grow as a person and molded me into the man I am today. Having said that, I am not going to steer our kids in doing the same thing. If they are recruited to live somewhere else and play hockey, or basketball, baseball, football, golf or any kind of sport and feel that it is the only way they can achieve their dream, then I would feel like a hypocrite standing in the way and telling them they can’t do something. We both feel very strongly about this and our thoughts are on the opposite sides of the spectrum. Of course, I wouldn’t want our kids to move away early, but I do want our children to have the opportunity and freedom to make this type of decision. I wouldn’t want them to resent us for not allowing them to do something that I did myself.
Bride’s Feelings: Uncomfortable, tense, stubborn, negative
Groom’s Feelings: Hopeful, positive, optimistic, frustrated
STEP THREE: What will a better future look like for us?
Bride: I will be proud that we were able to resolve this issue. I think that I will feel closer to you because we were able to understand each other better. I also think that I will feel relieved and happy with myself if we are both able to compromise because it will take away a lot of stress. To better understand where you are coming from, I could also try and reach out to other families who have allowed their children to do the same thing and ask them how the situation went and what they would change or do over again. I know we will have to compromise and a lot of these decisions will have to be made when our children are older. But I want you to understand where I am coming from. I want you to realize how difficult it is for a mother to let another family finish raising her child. I hope that if we decide our kids can move away to play hockey, that you do not encourage them to do so, but that you let them make the choice on their own. We need to be more understanding when we talk about this issue. We may also need to wait and see once we have kids. Some kids are mature enough and are ready to move away from home at a young age and others may not be. I think we need to: talk with your parents, talk with my parents, talk to other people who have played junior hockey, and talk to people who have hosted young hockey players.
Whatever the decision may be, I will be proud of us and know that our decision came from our hearts. I need to talk more with my fiancé about my decision when I was young and what I went through and be more understanding where she is coming from. We need to see things from the kid’s perspective. If had a dream growing up and if my parents would have held me back any step of the way I would have been heartbroken, and our kids won’t be moving away forever. I think we could both be a little more understanding. We could speak with our parents about this and other people that have gone through the same issue.
STEP FOUR: What are our best ideas?
Idea One: Talk with HIS’s parents about their experience with their children moving away at a young age and learn more about HIS decision-making process.
Idea Two: Talk with other people who moved to play hockey at a young age with parents who sent their kids away to play hockey and families who hosted hockey players.
STEP FIVE: What will I/we actually do?
Bride: I will reach out to other people who moved away at a young age as well as their parents and find out what were some of the things that were hard for them and what were some things that went really well. We will both talk with some of his host families to learn more about their experiences.
Groom: I will talk with my parents to better understand the positives and negatives of allowing me to move away from home at a young age. We will both talk with some of my host families to learn more about their experiences.
STEP SIX: How will we know that we’re making progress?
When we better understand each other and eventually are able to compromise.