“If you push kids too hard, too young, they will quit forever. Parents should never burden their kids with their unfulfilled ambitions, frustrations, anxiety, or any other form of emotional baggage. The parents’ support must be consistent. The most important thing is that the child gets the experience—win, lose, or draw—without judgment.”— Breathe: A Life in Flow by Rickson Gracie, Peter Maguire
The Gracie family did some unconventional things. At a certain point, Carlos and Hélio (Rickson’s uncle and dad, respectively) decide to father as many children as they can. 21 boys of 30 children with 8 different mothers.
So you might assume that they also took a Marv Marinovich approach to training the children in Jiu-Jitsu. But there’s an emphasis on picking yourself up when you lose and also having fun.
My dad was a tough and demanding teacher, but he never pushed us the way I see some parents push their kids in Jiu Jitsu today. Why would a kid want to train if his dad yells at him the whole time? My father understood this, and his message was always, “If you win, great! But if you don’t, stand up and try again!” My earliest memories of Jiu Jitsu are fun, even playful.
Some things this reminded me of
- László Polgár teaching his daughters chess
- Tim Grover and the book Winning which I’m reading right now. There are different levels of having a winning mentality. Would you be okay being on a team of assholes if you win championships? Top level winners would think that was a rhetorical question.
- Courtland Allen, on his Indie Hackers podcast, said he sometimes thinks with the constraint: what if I only did the fun parts? It can’t be applied to the entire business and through the entire life of a business. But he’s at a stage now where he’s able to apply it to the podcast. He does the research and outline + the actual interview. That’s what’s fun for him. He doesn’t do audio editing, titles, show notes, transcripts, etc. his team takes care of that and it probably helps him stay consistent and enthusiastic about doing the podcast. Which then likely has a positive effect on the energy in an interview.
Takeaway: if your kid is choked out at 5 years old, don’t yell at them.