How To Bow Out Gracefully When It’s No Longer Fun

Before he became "The Wizard of Menlo Park," Thomas Edison was a failure.

Yes, we now know him for inventing things such as the incandescent light bulb, phonograph, and motion picture camera, but Edison also tried his hand at countless other projects that never ended with a finished product.

But rather than deem all those attempts failures, Edison famously quipped, "I have not failed 10,000 times-I've successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work."

I bring this up because sometimes it's hard for us as parents to recognize the value of knowing what DOESN'T work.

See, we all have plenty of reasons for getting our kids involved in sports, especially one like hockey. It's great physical activity that also teaches life lessons about dealing with adversity, time-management and being part of team. But there's also a downside - everything from burnout, to injuries, to politics, to lost weekends and wallets swallowed up by travel and expenses. So, what do you do when the cons start to outweigh the pros for your child?

Sometimes the signs are subtle. They were for hockey dad Kevin Duy, creator of and his wife. Their son would occasionally ask to skip practice. He wasn't as excited about games. 

"We thought it may have had to do with some of the kids on the team," Duy said. "There were some different personalities and kids who he didn't hang with outside of the rink."

During the season, their son never came out and said he didn't want to play anymore. It wasn't until the end of last summer, when he informed his parents he didn't want to play hockey in high school. The Duys were sad it was over but respected their son's decision. It was time to bow out gracefully. 

"There's no sense in forcing your kid to play a sport that he doesn't want to play," they thought. "No one wins in that scenario."

Looking back, Duy is grateful he made a mental shift a few years ago. He's not sure why or exactly when, but something hit him. It didn't matter how badly he wanted his son to tap into his inner Gretzky; if playing hockey wasn't important to him, then it didn't matter. His son had to want it.

"From that point on, I just started to sit back and enjoy watching him play the game," dad said. "I simply embraced him for the type of player that he wanted to be, and that was good enough." 

The lightbulb went off for the Duy family, and it turned out to be what was in their son's best interest. Now that he's hung up the skates, it's easy to say he's quitting hockey.

Or perhaps it's more accurate to say he's merely succeeded at finding at least one hobby that doesn't work for him before moving on to something else. And there's nothing wrong with that.

Christie Casciano Burns' new book, "My Kids Play Hockey: Essential Advice for Every Hockey Parent" is due out in August.




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