Born to play

By Cathy Brown, Regional Manager, Midlands

Like all children my son Joshua (now aged 6 years old) loves playing and thanks to our ball obsessed Shih Tzu, Bruce, it wasn’t long before Joshua developed an interest in balls. Throwing, catching, rolling and watching sports and activities that involved balls. I remember questioning if many young toddlers chose to watch Wimbledon, golf or snooker instead of Thomas the Tank Engine or Peppa Pig.

When at 12 months old Joshua came out of the kitchen one day with a wooden spoon and egg cup, we didn’t realise then that this was the start of his golf journey.

Over the months and years, I would regularly hear from nursery about his antics. ‘Today Joshua was playing golf with a wooden strawberry and a piece of train track.”, “Today Joshua has been showing all the other children how to play golf.” One day I made a compilation of Joshua’s golf video clips from across the years which I subsequently posted on a social networking site. A number of comments were posted but there were two comments which attracted my attention:

“Wow what a talented little boy.”
“Relentless determination to move the ball forward.”

These comments made me reflect: did Joshua have a natural talent for golf or was it his experiences and environment that provided him with the opportunity to practice and develop his skills? Was Josh naturally talented or did he develop early positive behaviours that would accelerate his learning and development?

Despite the belief of our family and many of our friends, Joshua did not enter this world with a golf club in his hand. Like all other children, he just liked to play. Not golf specifically, just play.

As a baby and toddler he played, we praised, he tried new things, we praised, he observed, we praised, he explored, we praised. He experienced success and failure, we praised both. He adapted, we praised, he persevered, we praised. Due to our own experiences and interests as a family, on reflection we probably got more excited and praised more when he explored anything that resembled golf; but then doesn’t every grandparent and parent enjoy seeing their child or grandchild do something they enjoy themselves. Joshua soon discovered trying to hitting a ball with an object (any object initially) gave him a positive experience. Family and friends would praise him.

He practiced. For hours each week he practiced and through exploring and playing he learned and developed.

Was Josh born to play golf OR born to play and explore? Was it Joshua’s positive experiences through explorative play and the opportunity to observe and copy the sport of golf which made him feel positive and confident whenever he practiced golf related activities?. After all, aren’t we all more likely to persevere with something that makes us feel good?

One of the things I love most about working at Create is seeing the impact the Create approach has. Spreading the word, helping others to really understand the impact rewarding positive behaviours has. The small changes parents and teachers can make to have such a huge personalised impact on every child and how Family FUNS, real PE and real gym can provide the initial support and framework to support this. After all, doesn’t every child deserve to feel good about what they do?

See below to watch Joshua’s story.