How Is Parenting an Athlete Like Baking a Cake?

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So how is parenting an athlete like baking a cake?

Well, the story goes like this:

Imagine that there are three bakers who are each baking a cake.

The first baker carefully measures out the very best ingredients, carefully mixing them and pouring the batter into a well-greased pan, placing the pan into a perfectly pre-heated oven. Then, after setting the timer she begins work on other tasks, monitoring the cake’s process by looking at the clock, checking on the cake via the oven window and using her sense of smell to ensure that it is not burning.

The second baker goes through an identical process up through getting the cake into the oven. But then, instead of monitoring her cake’s process, she simply walks away, only coming back into the kitchen when the timer goes off.

The third baker also repeats the same process to place the cake in the oven.   However, she then sits diligently in front of the oven, scrutinizing the cake while baking. She even opens the oven every few minutes to check on the cake. Sometimes she even adds more ingredients as the cake bakes, just in case. Then, she decides she has to remove the cake from the oven before the timer goes off because she decided that the oven was too hot.

Which cake is likely to be turn out the best?

Now replace the word “baker” with “parent,” “cake” with “child” and “oven” with “gym.”  Get the idea?

When we are parenting an athlete remember to be like the first baker: attentive but not meddling.   Allow for independence in your child, but don’t simply walk away. Let the kid to “take the heat.” It is from this heat that they will transform into something better than they were before.

Sure the process of baking a cake isn’t an exact analogy to raising a healthy, happy child with good character, but it’s a good reminder as we navigate the world doing the tough job of parenting our young athletes.  And, in the last analysis the thing that   takes the cake (pun intended, albeit a terrible one) is a positive relationship with our child who is able to navigate the heat of the kitchen with our love, guidance and unwavering support.