Saturday, April 1, 2017

What we did right with each of our kids - Part II - Chloe

(NOTE: Parents are forever lamenting the things they wish they had done differently with their children. "I should have been more strict about this" or "I wish I had let her participate in that." That type of stuff. I see nothing productive there, so instead I choose to celebrate the things that Terry and I appear to have done well with our children. Plus, it's a good way to fill five days of blog posts. So there's that.)

My 20-year-old daughter Chloe wants to be a doctor. A pediatrician, to be specific, and of course she's doing it by first getting a degree in biomedical engineering. This makes some sense, I suppose, but it's just like Chloe to go at the whole thing just a bit differently from most people.

For Chloe herself is a bit different from most people. Always has been. It is one of the many things to love about her.

Allowing her individuality to flourish is probably one thing we did right for her. Here are five others:

(1) We allowed her to be an interesting person. As Chloe was going out the door to head for work just now, I told her I was going to write a post about her, and I gave her the topic. She suggested that letting her be an interesting person should be on this list. Actually, she just said, "I'm an interesting person." And I said, "Does that mean we actually helped you become interesting? Or did we just stand by and let it happen?" And all she said as she ran out to her car was, "Good point." I'm not even sure what the point is. But I guess you could say we never quashed any of her eccentricities. Chloe is Chloe. If you love her like we do, great. If you don't, she doesn't have much use for you.

(2) I introduced her to soccer when she was 6 years old. Technically, she introduced me to soccer. I had been coaching my kids in t-ball and baseball for a couple of years when Chloe the kindergartner informed me she wanted to play soccer. So I went to City Hall to sign her up, and through a chain of events that still confuses me to this day, I ended up as her coach, as well (another story for another time). Chloe played nonstop all the way through her senior year of high school, capping her career by being named Most Valuable Player on her team that season. Soccer proved to be an outlet for her both physically and mentally, as she learned what it means to truly work for something and strive to improve every day.

(3) I let her choose the baritone horn on "Meet the Instrument Night" when she was in 4th grade. Chloe's choice to be a low brass player serves her well even to this day, as she has played the sousaphone in the University of Akron marching band the last two years. Terry, however, started accompanying us to these Meet the Instrument Nights after that because she was afraid I was going to steer all of our kids toward weird musical choices.

(4) We got out of her way. I said in a blog post on Chloe's birthday a year or two ago that the best thing when you're dealing with extremely bright and talented kids is to just let them go. That doesn't mean you should disengage from their lives completely, but understand that you aren't (and shouldn't be) driving the train. You're just the conductor, man, and you'd better hang on for the ride.

(5) We taught her to play cribbage. Have you ever played cribbage? That's a fun game. Sailors on submarines have played it for years. It's a good mix of strategy, skill and a little luck (much like life itself). Teach your kids to play cribbage. And if you don't know how, I will take you to Starbucks and have you playing like a champ in less than 15 minutes while we sip overpriced coffee (on me).

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