The decisions we make as a parent matter.
Pro golfer Phil Mickelson attended his firstborn’s high school graduation instead of playing in the prestigious U.S. Open this past week. He made the decision to miss the major championship to be present for his oldest daughter.
We are drawn to stories of professional athletes who prove to be family men. But, are we attracted to these features because we admire their choice or because we are baffled by the athlete’s decision to place family before sport?
I applaud Mickelson for showing up for his daughter at a time that will never come again. Our kids only get one high school graduation day.
As a wife of a retired professional athlete, I know this lifestyle well and understand firsthand how the sport can easily consume the entire family if you aren’t careful.
The majority of the time we all must prioritize our work because parenting doesn’t pay the bills.
So when you have the ability to turn down a prestigious opportunity to instead invest in an important time in your daughter’s life, then you must do it. When you replay your family story one day your presence, loyalty and love will matter more to your kids than any championship win ever will.
The decisions and choices we make as parents during the time our children are under our roof matter because we can never get one second of their childhood back.
I doubt anyone would’ve thought less of Mickelson if he played in this year’s US Open. He had a pretty fair excuse to miss the graduation honestly. But, the decision he made to be present with his family actually makes us all think more of him because that couldn’t have been an easy decision to make.
At the end of his life, Mickelson will never regret being at his daughter’s significant event. The investment of time is what builds and sustains our relationships. Kids know when you make the effort to show up for them.
Retirement came for my husband, Keith, after playing 17 years in the NHL. He took a couple years off and then went to work with the Chicago Blackhawks as a Player Development Coach and Scout. We love that team, organization and city more than anything but having Keith back on the road during the kids formative years took a toll on our family.
After three seasons, Keith courageously resigned from that position and bought an RV to take all of us around the USA for half a year to reconnect. Keith missed out on earning another Stanley Cup ring in 2015 as the Blackhawks won another championship without him.
Disappointing for sure, but at some point what does earning a championship really mean if you are letting your family down to achieve it?
Phil Mickelson really wants to win a US Open title and I hope that next year he does. He just wasn’t willing to choose that opportunity over his daughter this go around and I applaud his choice.
At the end of our lives, we will never regret investing time in our children. Childhood is fleeting so we must choose wisely. The decisions we make as a parent absolutely matter.