6 Life Lessons Learned on the Links
I think my family may have found the most perfect COVID-friendly activity - GOLF! My husband plays, I’ve always wanted to play, my kids play ice hockey and we all love Happy Gilmore, so sounds like the perfect foursome! After a few days at the driving range, we decided to take our game to the long course. We were lucky enough to get a beautiful day for our game and we were really excited for some sun, fresh air, friendly competition, and, let’s be honest, riding around in golf carts all day!
Although we were at the course midweek, it was way busier than we had anticipated. Out of courtesy, in addition to playing best ball, I decided to hold off my swing for a few holes just to help speed up our game (spoiler alert - it didn’t make us much faster!). But I did find out I’m an excellent caddy and golf cart driver! And, lucky me! I got to watch the game unfold as a spectator rather than a player, which offered me a whole different perspective. As I observed my family play, I couldn’t help but notice the family life-lessons that struck me along the way — as well as a stray golf ball on the 12th hole!
Here are the 6 life lessons I learned while watching my family play golf….and, please excuse any errors in golf lingo. I’m a complete nube and just trying my best here!
1- “Golf is a game of patience,” is what my husband said to my kids several times during play that day. You can only move as quickly as the group ahead of you, which allows you an opportunity to be in the moment and appreciate where you’re at. Enjoy the sunshine, enjoy your company. Take a breath and find the good in the moment. Great advice for us all in any given scenario!
2- You can’t always have a perfect game! Even if the best golfers make it look easy, they all hook and slice off the fairway now and then. It’s tough to have a perfect game. It may take you longer to achieve your goal when you end up in the rough, but by staying calm, focused and patient, you can recover and get back on track. And, while on this topic, let’s not forget forgiveness!! The best players let that sh*t go and move on.
3- How you approach your challenges matters. Every hole on the course has varied conditions, levels of difficulty and may even experience different types of weather! Each hole offers you an opportunity to evaluate and come up with a game plan for your next move. Rather than taking a shot blindly, you can make the best of it by assessing the green, deciding which club to use and how to angle your shot. In life, when we are met with a new challenge, we should allow ourselves a moment to assess the situation and figure out our approach using our personal strengths and tools.
4- Your form matters! Happy Gilmore’s coach, Chubbs, will tell you “it’s aaaaall in the hips.” It’s not a softball swing, nor is it a slapshot, like how my kids might approach it! You need to keep your head down and have a small bend at the knees. The slightest change in your form will affect your swing and outcome. The same is true with parenting. If you can be mindful of your parenting form by maintaining your focus on the priority and staying relaxed, you will have a way better outcome.
5- Muscle memory is everything! I noticed as we moved through the course, everyone’s swing got a little better! As with anything in life, practice makes progress! With consistency, your muscles will begin to remember the motion helping you to find that sweet spot. In life, the more consistent you are with practicing your values and respecting your boundaries, the easier it will be for your family to go with the flow. You will find that sweet spot by building up your family’s muscle memory.
6- Self-Care is always the answer! I have a competitive bunch, but even when ‘someone’ was sour after double-boogying a hole, a quick ride in the golf cart turned that frown upside down and got a few laughs! There’s nothing a little ‘reckless’ golf cart driving can’t fix! (Don’t be alarmed! My reckless driving isn’t all that reckless — no turf was damaged by my ride!) A little bit of fun and a smile help harness a better perspective and focus. The self-care paradox always amazes me. Practicing self-care (especially during moments when you’re feeling stuck) allows you to re-energize, refocus and get back on track — and perhaps become even more productive in the long run!
It was a great day on the links! Did we play a great game? Nope! Did we have fun? YES! And, I can’t wait to get out there again! The most valuable lesson of the day: Trying something fun and new with my crew is a guaranteed good time, which is always good for my soul. And, I suppose I also have a better understanding why my husband is gone for HOURS when he plays a round of golf with friends!
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Rebecca Murphy, Certified PCI® Parent Coach.