When I was a young parent, reading Shel Silverstein's "Giving Tree" always made me cry. Now, it makes me mad. By way of explanation, here is a Wikiquote on the book's interpretation:
"Ever since the book was published, it has generated controversy and opposing opinions for its interpreted messages on whether the tree is selfless or merely self-sacrificing, and whether the boy is selfish or reasonable in his demands of the tree. The story clearly shows childhood as being a time of relative happiness in comparison to the sacrifice and responsibility of adulthood."
I guess I've become a cynic in my later years because I've heard so many parents in so many rinks and at so many competitions saying to their skaters, "Look what I've given up for you. At least you can go out there and try." I just heard it again last week at a small non-qualifying competition while the not-even eight year old pre-juv skater sat sobbing in the stands after skating her heart out but falling three times in her program. It made me wonder how long she will stay in the sport, and what these words were doing to her self esteem. I suspect she'll quit. I hope she becomes a psychologist and not an ax murderer.
So, for what it's worth here's my take on it: We all give things up for competitive skating. Some give up more than others; it comes with the territory. Parents who use the "Look what I've given up" line as a weapon need to step back and examine their behavior - and the reasons behind it. Most likely, they got their kid into the sport in the first place. If their personal dreams of a "Gilt Trip" have not met or exceeded expectations, quickly it turns into a guilt trip and a familiar skating cry of "Why me??!!"