Thursday, July 29, 2010

Armchair quarterbacking

I have another Regular Guy column up, this one written through painfully acquired experience with "armchair quarterbacks." Enjoy!


  1. Yet another GREAT article! :)

    I, too, find myself confronted by armchair quarterbacks constantly. Like you, we receive all of the homeschooling comments. I also tend to get comments when I say that I'm a "professional flutist." The typical reply is, "Don't you mean flautist?" I always want to reply, "Well, if I meant flautist, I'd have said flautist!" Instead, I deliver my set reply and smile.

    Our most recent quarterbacking-attack has to do with our children running. Our kids (10, 7, 5) have been running since they were roughly 18mo-2yrs old each. Our kids run daily; the older two run 2-3 miles and the younger one runs 1 1/2-2. (I run with the little guy for safety issues.) We have routes throughout our housing area, use the base track, and have been known to run circles (too many circles) in the gym when the weather is unforgiving.

    In general, we use the running as part of their daily exercise, but the kids LOVE to run. So, they do long runs (5+ miles at their pace), speedwork, and other workouts. They are successful in races and eat up the attention. I love that they run since it is a physical fitness activity that they can continue when they are too old for team sports. I wish I had during my youth/young adulthood!

    Living on this smaller base (lots of people, little land), everyone has seen the kids running at one time or another. We get comments about forcing them to run, feeding them only when they run (yes, we do use desserts as a reward - but why not give your kids 2 desserts if they run 5 miles? Didn't they earn it??), and that we're teaching them to hate running, blaa, blaa, blaa.

    What's interesting is that most of the negative comments come from the spouses and children. The soldiers are impressed that our (young) kids can run the hills around here that cause some of the soldiers to 'fall out' in PT runs!

    We've now been here for 18 months. I don't know if the 'community' is slowly realizing that our kids have been flourishing and are quite healthy and strong, but we've not had as many negative comments lately. In fact, this summer, we've had more people ask if their children can run with our children since they sit on the couch too much! lol

    I think it's just easier for people to tell others what they are doing wrong. Plus, I think our activities tend to make people nervous and second-guess what they have their kids doing or not doing. The shame is that it's not that we feel what we are doing is the BEST and ONLY way to raise kids, but it that works for US. I feel this same thing about homeschooling - I think so many people respond negatively since they then worry about whether they should doing it themselves. It's a shame since I don't look at people and think, "Wow, they should be homeschooling/running with their kids." I just don't think that way!

    When I’m subjected to armchair quarterbacking, I try to remember that it’s often insecurities that make them offer their unsolicited advice and let it go (as difficult as it is at times).

    Sorry for the novella…I just really relate to this!

  2. I laughed for a good ten minutes today as I stopped into the "dollar store" and found wooden trivets at the Dollarama!!! Until a few days ago I wouldn't have even know what they were, now I know that the poor kids that make them for 10cents an hour in Asia for the Dollarama can apparently become millionares according to your 'armchair quarterback' :-) Good to know!