I love participating in Scholastic Chess tournaments (alongside my son); first, I don’t have to wait outside the game room, anxious and helpless, trying to predict whether my son will win or lose; instead I can be in the same room and I get to see him from across the board; second, I get to play chess and improve my own skills in the process; maybe even get some rating points; and third, and not less important, it is a rather humbling experience to get beat-up by 7-8 year olds; I always find it refreshing for my point of view on the world.
Today I took my son to a local chess tourney at bayareachess, where “chess parents” are allowed (I would even say “encouraged”) to play with the kids, so I jumped on the occasion. The kids I played against were really good and I really enjoyed every game; by the end of the day I felt completely exhausted.
We, parents, have a tendency to stand on the sidelines, and give advise to our kids after each game: “why did you give up the queen like this?” or “didn’t you see what he was planning?”; today’s experience reminded me how difficult it really is to play in these tournaments, and how “putting yourself in their shoes” periodically is valuable — it gives you a whole new perspective on how to be helpful to your son or daughter.
This, I think, is also true for many other aspects of life. When providing advise, put yourself in the receiving end, if you can, and I guarantee your advise will become exponentially more valuable.