To help break through the fog, it is necessary to realize there are some "whethers" you can control and some you cannot. You can control whether you choose to continue skating; you can control whether or not you make changes to your programs, costumes, choreography, coaches, clubs, training facilities. At certain levels, you can control whether or not you will compete only locally and regionally or take on the expenses of traveling (something that, at the higher levels, is not a "whether" but a "when"). You do have some say, though as you move on in the sport, controlling this "whether" becomes more and more challenging.
However, there is "whether" you can always control, if you pay attention to it. Whether you are beginning to map your course in this sport, or whether you are a long-time veteran, you can control your perspective on the experience. How you view the day-to-day affects whether or not you'll handle the sport in the long term. The same way a skater must hone skills and master them to the best of his or her abilities, parents must master patience and support while honing their skills of observation and communication. You need to know whether there are signs of trouble - changes in behavior, eating, socialization. You must watch and listen. You need to ask questions but not interrogate, either your skater or the coach. If there is a problem, you must know whether or not you can rein in your emotions enough for effective dialogue or whether you need outside help. Be sure you know which way the wind is blowing before you start storming around. And, ultimately, you must know whether this is something yourskater really wants to do or whether you are living out your own dreams. For some, that's the toughest one to navigate.
As you move forward; as you map out your plans for the rest of 2010 and beyond, think about the "whether." Be supportive. Observe. Find the calm. Avoid the unnecessary storm, knowing along the way that sometimes you must face it head on in order to survive. Chart your path carefully but be assured in the fact that you are not the first to navigate these frozen waters. And be prepared for the changes that come each day, each competition, each season - whether you are ready or not.