Jun 5, 2012
Who the heck likes lightning, and would you naysayers back off already? So what if Rafael Nadal picks at his pants on the court and put his water bottles just ever so straight in a row? We all have quirks; just no one knows about them. Rafael grew up in front of a camera. Uncle Tony stuck a racquet in his hand and said Vamos! The Spaniard scrambled off onto the court where he jumped nervously from one foot to the other in anticipation of that first serve. What is this preoccupation with Rafael Nadal’s nervousness and anxiety? And what if he still lives at home, doesn’t eat ham, doesn’t like sunscreen and hates lightning?
It must be the hardest thing to do for a tennis player who is generally a little tense to step out onto the court with tons of people watching in the stands. The ticket holders want action. There is a lot of expectation. It is the season of the big three; Federer, Djokovic and Nadal. Each one of them are hungry, each one has his quirks. So why pick on Rafa? Are you a doctor? Do you know his past and his history? Have you spoken to the Spaniard that you know he is deeply, deeply neurotic? Nadal’s just a grown kid, like most of us; nervous and anxious with a fear of failure. Maybe he has a compulsive disorder. Maybe he is worried about that first opening round in the finals. Who knows? And so what if he is a little neurotic? It’s what makes people interesting and different from the rest.
Let Rafa have his rituals. It’s who he is; a gladiator on the court. He has a girlfriend who understands him and an uncle who has his back. We have all seen over the years how they are still with each other. Not easy to do when you are in the limelight. Rafa doesn’t need anyone to defend him and he doesn’t need sunscreen; his skin is smooth and supple without it and just the right color. Why do the Nadal-haters always find something to say about him? Nadal is a little suspicious and a little jumpy, yes; he’s wired like a wild cat. Let’s wait for the finals and see who is the number one hunk and tennis player of them all! Sticks and stones will break my bones; jealousy will get you nowhere. Vamos Rafa!
Often the parents who complain most about their kids are the ones who have not set rules and codes of behavior. Right from the crib a child learns that when he cries in his crib, someone picks him up and hugs him and feeds him. Of course I’m not saying that you should leave your child in the crib to cry his lungs out, but when he is fed, has had a bath, and his diaper is clean, you can put him down in his crib. As he begins to walk and talk the lessons start, imperceptibly, with simple things like having him or her say, thank you, mummy, and having him repeat it.
How you and your partner interact at home, the kids subconsciously take note. What the parent does, the child will emulate. If you swear at home the child will learn these words also and hurl your own words back at you. Discipline does not work if the parents teach one way, and they themselves break the rules by swearing at each other at home. You are not a good pair then for the kids and the calmer of the two must bring order when there is a dispute over anything. In some homes the kids want to complain to their father, not their mother. Is that wrong? No, whoever has the right temperament and the right sense of justice should handle the complaints.
Teaching a child discipline starts right from the beginning.
• He learns to pick up his toys before going to bed. It can be a fun exercise when the two of you pick up the toys and pack them in the right place.
• He learns potty training in the bathroom where it is quiet and he can’t be distracted; he must learn to close the door without banging it. When he is finished he must learn to wipe himself. This will take a week or two if you support him by regularly putting him on the potty until he has got the hang of it.
• Some children are fascinated with what comes out of them and you should not be surprised when you come into the bathroom and see his handiwork on the wall. Do not shout at him.
• Learn not to scream at your kids when they do something wrong; that is only to appease your anger and does not in any way help them. Tell the child nicely when you want to reprimand him for something that he did wrong. He must know what he is being punished for. How you speak to the child now, is how the child will speak to his kids when he becomes a parent.
• Disciplining a child is easy when you do it with love and with patience and do not change your pattern every day. In their hearts kids want stability although they don’t know it themselves. Not yet, until they become parents themselves.