This is my son Ethan. Ethan has the will of a Russian dictator. He’s 5.
I introduced him to basketball through the Junior Jazz program, which seemed like a logical thing to do. He loves shooting baskets in the driveway and at McDonald’s. He loves it, and he’s good at it. Ethan is, like both of his parents, on the tall side. It seemed like a natural fit.
Like some things that seemingly ought to go together, these two just did not. Ethan didn’t like playing the game. He didn’t like other kids grabbing the ball. He didn’t like the shoving and the boxing out. (Can 5-year-olds box out?) He just wanted to throw baskets. On Saturdays he would either refuse to get dressed or, if I won the battle of wills enough to get him out the door, he would stand by the bathroom and refuse to enter the gym.
My friends told me at 5, I tell my kid what he’s interested in, not the other way around. I wasn’t so sure. So I asked the women of A Woman’s View.
Sally Dietlein, executive producer of Hale Center Theatre, told me, “My greatest joy as a mother was finding out who my children were. I wanted to see who I had been given.”
I do not think I have been given a basketball player.
“It's funny you talk about basketball,” Marilyn Stewart shared on the show. Marilyn is a teacher in the Box Elder School District and the founder of www.familyreunionhelper.com. “I was the center on the first girls basketball team at Box Elder High School. And when I had a daughter, I just assumed she’d want to play basketball when she grew up, and that she’d be good at it — that she’d have some of my genes, but she hated it. She liked gymnastics.”
“We can aim our children,” Sally explained, “not necessarily steer them.”
Oh. That is so good.
DeAnne Flynn, speaker with Time Out for Women and author of "The Mother’s Mite," gave me such good advice. She told me to give Ethan a little break. He may want to return some day.
DeAnne did the most interesting and courageous thing with her family that led to her first book, "The Time-Starved Family." She looked in the rear-view mirror one day and realized her daughter was being raised in a car seat. She talked to her friends. Every mother she knew complained about how busy her family was, but nobody did anything about it.
That’s not DeAnne. DeAnne is a doer. She put her family on a one-year fast. Whoa. No lessons for a year. That’s it. No piano. No violin. No baseball. No whatever. She worried constantly about their future college scholarships, but then she saw them gathering around the dinner table and thought — it’s worth it.
Ethan asked for a penny to throw in a fountain the other day. I asked him if he wanted to share his wish. “I wish to be a leader,” he announced triumphantly.
Wow. What an amazing boy I have been given.
Amanda Dickson is the co-host of Utah's Morning News, weekday mornings from 5-9 on KSL Newsradio, 102.7 FM and 1160 AM, and also A Woman's View heard Sundays at 11 a.m. You can follow Amanda on Twitter, Facebook or amandadickson.com.