Why Healthy Relationships Must Evolve to Last
I was frustrated with my daughter, Ashley, recently during a weekend softball tournament. I’ve been on a fun journey with her over the past few years as she’s grown and developed into a fine softball player. I’ve enjoyed being on this journey with her and guiding her along the way.
I’ve helped her find the right coaches to elevate her game. I’ve made sure she’s had the right equipment to allow her to be successful and I’ve coached her on how to approach competition and how to manage winning and to endure defeat.
When Ashley started to play softball, she was 10. I managed every facet of the game for her and she pretty much followed my lead. Now she’s 13, and things have changed.
We had a long wait before our next game at our most recent softball tournament. It was hot and I knew we might have a long afternoon ahead of us. I urged Ashley to rest in the cool comforts of our hotel room, but she resisted and wanted to hang out with her friends and rest with them. That made me uncomfortable, because I’m used to having her with me so I can manage what she eats and how much she drinks. I wanted to ensure she rested, hydrated and was mentally ready to play softball later in the afternoon.
Ashley resisted and we ultimately fought over it. I won the arguement and forced her to rest in our room. She was visibly upset and angry with me. Eventually we talked about it as we drove back to the ball fields to get ready for the next game.
“I’m sorry I snapped at you.” I looked over at Ashley.
“I was really mad at you, Dad.” Ashley responded without making eye contact.
“I know; I just want what’s best for you.”
“It’s my sport and my life, Dad. I need to make my own decisions and live with the consequences. Sometimes you just need to learn to back off.” Ashley looked over at me and we made eye contact. This was a big moment for her. She was laying down a new set of rules.
“I understand.” I smiled, “I’m sorry.”
“I forgive you.” Ashley grinned and patted me on my shoulder.
We had a great day of softball and created wonderful memories, but most of all I learned that my relationship with my daughter is evolving and I must evolve with it.
It’s hard to let go and to allow Ashley to make her own decisions, especially when I feel she is making the wrong decisions. There will be times I’ll assist her to make sure she doesn’t harm herself, but she’s right, it’s her life and she must live it.
Relationships evolve and change is constant. Circumstances change and attitudes change. People grow and learn and our relationships with each other must evolve through every season. I’ve discovered that some relationships only last a season and that’s okay, because it served a purpose; however, some relationships are meant to last a lifetime, like the relationship I have with my daughter. In order for it to last a lifetime, I must learn to evolve as Ashley grows and explores the world.
I’m learning to step back and allow my daughter to take the lead in her own life. I’m learning to evolve, because my desire is to maintain a strong and healthy relationship with her. Do you struggle with any relationships in your life? Are you willing to evolve?