So I want my son (Bobby) to be world no.1 Golfer, but he doesn’t know or care about that. And that’s the first lesson (of 8.5) learned:
1. No one will ever do anything you want for you, only for them. Especially 3 year olds and employees.
So my best friends (bribes) became Kit Kat’s, Twix’s & having a large dose of fun. Yes you can reward, and it will get you to the short term goal, but to create longevity and passion every day is to make it enjoyable for them (not you).
2. (Therefore) Short term goals are irrelevant
I want Bobby to hole putts. I want Bobby to hit 100 balls. I want Bobby to be at the range for 90 minutes. But I can’t make him. And he doesn’t care. And he’s only 3. In fact, if I try, it is 17 times harder. And then when we (I) miss (my) short term goals I get frustrated and impatient. And he rebels.
Weirdly, if I go with no short term goals, let go of what I can’t control, he finds his own way, he excels in other areas (in particular raking the bunker) and we embrace the unknown. Which is 3rd/8.5 lessons we’ll come back to in a moment.
I’m happy to let him learn himself; to drift, to discover. And we often find new and better ways; different and unplanned ways. The long term goal (which we have 15 to 40 years left to achieve) keeps us on the path, so we don’t have to hit imposed short term daily goals; we just have to be there. We just have to play.
So forget imposed short term pressures and set long term goals and just play along your path. Then you can…
3. Allow yourself to discover the unknown
I had no clue Bobby would be so good out of the bunker before the age of 3. I had no clue he’d learn best through doing (and not listening to me). I had no clue he’d prefer to putt at cars and trains and not at the hole. But that’s what motivated him, and that’s what he wants to do. And he loves it.
Every day brings a new challenge and distraction; spiders, pebbles, bees, squirrels, needing a wee. Roll with them, embrace them and allow them in. Let them be part of it. The pieces put themselves together if you let them. If you resist them, you lose control.
4. Be patient; it just comes one day
For 3 months Bobby would take one hand off the club on his follow through. Gary, the Golf pro says it doesn’t matter. “Let him smack it like Happy Gilmore; he’s 3.” But of course I try to coach him towards the perfect swing. I see swing improvements as ‘progress.’ Then one day he keeps his hands on the club. It seems like it is one shot, but it is 3 months and one shot. A little bit of encouragement/reward and it’s done. 3 months in the making; then one day and a new habit is formed.
5. Do it every day
People see Bobby running around the place wreaking havoc and look at me like I’m a bad parent. Then they see him hit the ball. Then they stop, smile, and comment on the ‘child prodigy.’ Whilst it’s flattering for my vicarious ego; he wasn’t born a Golfer, he was born a baby boy. He’s been hitting toy clubs since 1, real clubs since 2 and we go to the Golf range every day we can. Even when it’s raining. Even we he/we don’t want to.
“Do you want Bobby to be the world no.1 at 7, 17, 27 or 37?” the pro asked me. Wise words.
6. Pattern interrupts & contrarianism
Tantrums and the odd dangerous act are not uncommon. And of course the more you instruct, the more he rebels. As soon as you tell him not to do something, the cheeky Chucky smirk appears and the contrarian comes out in force. In business we say “Observe the masses, do the opposite,” so I can’t tell him off for that.
The only/best way to get him on the right track is to pattern interrupt. Mid rebellion:
“Bobby, that man will steal your balls and hit them all.” (OK, cheap shot)
“Bobby, Mowgli wants to see a Big Bobby Boom.”
I don’t know how long I’ll get away with patterns interrupts working so well, but an instant state break and some reverse psychology seems to go down much better than telling someone what to do/not to do.
7. Make it fun
People picture me locking Bobby in the basement giving him electric shocks each time he doesn’t hit the perfect shot. You’ve seen the TV shows of the child prodigy and the insane parents. And I might have been one. Bobby asks me to take him to Golf (all part of the eeeevil plan) because he loves it. We mess around. We have fun and variety. Bobby can do the odd ‘silly-swing,’ or ‘tee-fingers,’ (putting all the tees on his fingers and trying to hit a shot. He’s quite good at that).
There’s 2 kids that go to the Golf range everyday and that’s life’s little secret. (At least) 2 hours every day Daddy and Bobby spend together, uninterrupted by technology & world issues; it’s the best time in the world.
8. Schmooze the club owners
The only way we get away with messing around is through relationships with the pros. Suzy & Gary & Rob & Simon are Bobby’s favourite people, and Daddy often sends him to collect high 5’s and to pay for the bucket of balls. He has even named shots after them. I think they’re a little more forgiving of his odd tantrum and shouting at the other Golfers:
“Blue tees are rubbish!”
“That was a silly swing” (a duff).
There’s more leeway, for sure.
8.5. Have a memorable name
Bobby Moore. Remember that name…
The Disruptive Entrepreneur
5 times best selling author
Speaking world record holder
Property & investing addict
Pilot & proud Dad to a future Golf champ
Questions, comments, rants and arguments welcomed below