Michael Ling, DDS - April 2020

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The Value of Keeping Our Kids Involved

L ike many parents, my husband and I are always busy taking care of our kids. As a family, we often have something going on almost every night of the week, whether it’s practices or traveling for

they get to play together. (Of course, they are stuck playing point guard just like their mom. Sorry, girls!)

As the girls progress in their basketball careers, we’ve had the chance to see their personalities blossom as well. My eldest daughter is introverted, and she really benefits from a team setting, where the pressure is not solely on her abilities. She’s come out of her shell quite a bit since joining the team! As for her younger sister, basketball started out as enemy No. 1. She hated basketball! She would try anything and everything to get out of playing. We eventually learned she was scared. She didn’t know how to play and thought she would embarrass herself. Once we helped her overcome this fear and taught her more about the sport, she grew to love practice and games. It’s been great to see her overcome this obstacle. Our two girls aren’t the only athletes we have in the house, though! My son also participates in sports, but it’s more unique than basketball. He plays in a league that practices and plays a different sport each week. It’s a chance for him to learn something new and discover which sport he wants to continue. It also has the added benefit of getting some of that excitable energy out of him! He’s our extroverted boy, and the chance for him to let out his energy one night each week is cathartic for him and us! As for the two remaining little kiddos, they stay active with open swims, the library, and community events. I’m already starting to see what activities will best suit their personalities! For example, I know our toddler is going to thrive on the stage. She is a performer and always makes us laugh. Our schedule may only get crazier as the little ones get older, but there’s no other way I’d rather have it.

tournaments on the weekends. But if this means our children are learning valuable lessons and staying active, then the busy, crazy weeks are worth it. Just the other day, our oldest daughter learned one of those important lessons on teamwork. We traveled to a tournament with her basketball team. During one of the games, she hurt her leg, and her availability for the next day’s game was looking grim. We then learned that if she didn’t suit up and at least sit on the bench, her team would have to forfeit the entire tournament. They just didn’t have enough players. So the next day, she put on her uniform and headed to the bench, knowing full well she may not play. But by doing so, her teammates were able to play. Thankfully, her leg felt much better, and she did play! From this experience, she learned just how valuable each player is to the success of the team, even when they’re on the bench. I was very proud of her. My two older daughters both play basketball, just like my sister and I did together when we were growing up. Ironically, my entire family is very short, so we all played point guard. It was really the only position where height wasn’t an advantage! Still, I had fun sharing the court with my teammates and, in some seasons, my sister. Today, my daughters are experiencing the same thing. They played on a basketball team together last season, and while they are on different teams this year, they enjoy each chance

—Dr. Meg Ling

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