I like tennis. Very, very much. I would have written that I love tennis, but I think love is such a sacred word, throwing it around for everything we enjoy in our lives sort of cheapens it. So, I wrote I like tennis, but I really should write that it is my favorite sport and I regret that I never took tennis lessons as a child.
I looked for tennis lessons for my children, but maybe not hard enough. I am not willing to drive an hour for this. Besides, we already have so many extracurricular activities, I would not know where to fit tennis in. For now, we watch tennis on TV if a slam event is going on. And I think about it. Sometimes. I like it, but it does not dominate my life. I might look into lessons for them here in Gatlinburg.
Anyway, all this to say, I am learning a lot about parenting and homeschooling by listening to tennis players being interviewed. Someone once said that the top 100 players in the world all have the same basic tennis skills. The difference between them is in their … minds. The mental aspect of the game cannot be underestimated.
Donald Young, a young American player, recently said that the difference between himself a year ago and today is all mental. He does not take comments from the public seriously anymore, he does not let something someone said bother him, he does not get upset over a mistake he made 10 points ago. He lets it all fall off his shoulders. He shrugs negative things off and moves on. The interviewer quipped, “It’s called maturity.”
What I see in my daily interaction with my children is that I am challenged to be mature. To let negative things fall off by the wayside and keep pressing on. We have goals to achieve. We can’t stop to waste energy on negative details. The same is true in anything you do, of course. There is a time to deal with negativity, of course. Boundaries must be set. But if it bogs you down, you should re-consider.
Also, it takes professional tennis players years to master the two-handed backhand or other parts of the game. Years. Give yourself some room to make mistakes as a homeschooling mom. Keep learning and deal gently with your mistakes.
They say, for instance, the third set in a women’s match and the fifth set in a men’s match is simply mental. Sure, it’s physical, too. Who can go the distance? Who has enough stamina? But the strokes are all the same. You just got a set a piece. You know what to do to win. Will you have the belief that you can actually pull it off?
Ah, the belief. So when doubts creep in on you about your decision to homeschool, how do you keep that belief? Remember where you last saw the light. Did you receive a calling? Do you have a mission statement? Did you write it all down in a diary or a school calendar for the year? Re-read those pages. Pray. Go for a walk. Reach for an inspirational homeschooling book. Talk to a fellow homeschooling mom. It’s all mental. Just like in tennis.