Finding the right people.
When we are parenting and educating with respect and connection we are positioned as facilitators not controllers of our children, their lives and their learning. One of the key skills we need to hone is to understand if, when and how to bring someone in to help develop and continue a passion. Finding the right people to help our children on their learning journey is really important.
My youngest, when aged roughly 6 years, developed a passion for football. It had been an interesting passion to watch evolve over time. It had started with watching and playing FIFA on the PlayStation with his Dad. This had lead us to find You Tubers who played FIFA, and as it happened we found a You Tuber who also played Sunday League football. The videos were lapped up, and an interest in football players and the game itself soon emerged. It was not long before he wanted to actually play, and it quickly became obvious to me that he wanted more than a kick about in the garden with me or his friends. It was time to find someone else to help us.
Herein started a good bit of research by me. I needed to start from a position of where my son was at; in terms of his football skills, his needs and the way in which he liked to learn. Being really knowledgeable about our individual children is crucial. Finding a good fit in terms of environment and expert person is just as critical. I knew for my son that we needed a small, informal and nurturing environment with a coach who (if not already familiar with neurodivergent needs and respectful, connected relationships) was willing to be open, flexible and collaborate with us.
I am forever grateful for the football coach recommendation I received. The last two years has seen my son develop in so many ways that go way beyond just football. The coach has been amazingly supportive for his all round development. He has been incredibly understanding, open and adaptive to my son's individual needs, and our family learning philosophies. He has presented football and life skills extensions and development opportunities without pressure or expectation, and we have worked together to adjust where things haven't rolled out quite as expected. We have seen my son thrive both on the pitch, socially and more "academically". It was due to their connection and relationship that my son was recently inspired to do his first wholly independent writing.
Finding the right people is just so important. As life learners we know that everything we do in life is rich in learning, which goes way beyond what we see on the surface. It truly makes my heart sing to facilitate and watch these things unfold. This football is just another beautiful example showing that combining passions and relationships/connection leads to powerful, efficient, wide-ranging and broad learning.