I know what you’re saying, “How dare this guy suggest that my kid play sports. When my child doesn’t even like athletics.” Well this has nothing to do with sports and everything to do with life. Remember the movie “The Karate Kid” when Daniel asked Mr. Miyagi to teach him karate. During most of the movie, Daniel spent his time at Mr. Miyagi’s doing what he thought were trivial tasks like panting the fence etc. Only to find out that he was actually learning the fundamentals of karate that would make him a great competitor. Well sports will prepare your child for life in the same way.
So many people want to teach their children the lessons of life but can’t figure out why their kid can’t pick up the information at an early age. See we can talk to our children about teamwork, dedication, overcoming obstacles, persevering etc until we’re blue in the face. However, they won’t understand it until they experience it for themselves. Sports will allow a child to experience all of those things at a young age. I don’t care if the kid is a natural athlete or not. That’s irrelevant. It’s about the experience that they will get from learning how to compete that will last them for a lifetime.
It’s also important for the child to experience some adversity along the way. It’s OK for your kid to experience defeat every now and then, to get benched even when they are clearly the better player for whatever reason. It’s also important for parents to stay out of the way when this happens. When the parent jumps in to rescue their child they are teaching the kid that it’s always going to be some one there to fix their problems. I get so upset when I see parents interfere and many times take their child off of the team because of playing time. As parents we all want to see our kid play in the game but remember this has nothing to do with the game. This has everything to do with life. If we allow our kid the opportunity to experience that adversity we can use it as a teaching moment. However, if we let them quit we’re teaching them that it’s OK to walk away from things because it doesn’t go their way. Then they become adults that walk off of jobs at the drop of a hat because somebody upset them. A wise man once told me that we’re not raising kids, we’re raising adults.
I remember when my son was in 6th grade and was on the travel football team for the little league. From 2nd grade up to that point he had been the stud on every team he’d played on. That’s why he was chosen for the travel team. Well, all of the kids were very good and there was very little difference in their talent levels. So therefore, the coaches seemed to play the kids that they liked or more familiar with. My son would cry because he wasn’t playing as much as he thought he should. I was upset and disappointed as well. However, I didn’t get in the way. I just talked to my son about increasing his work ethic and constantly working to be prepared to play. I told him to ask the coach what he needed to work on to get better so that he could get more playing time etc. I also told him that he needed to know the plays better than anyone else and most importantly keep a great attitude in the process. Why did I tell him that when he was clearly getting screwed?
In real life one day he may be the best candidate for the promotion at work and may not get it. He won’t get so upset that he didn’t get the job that he’ll curse everybody out and quit because he’s been in this movie before. He’ll simply increase his work ethic, be more prepared than everyone else on the job and become better at what he’s paid to do. He’ll handle things professionally and that goes along way. Now did those things I told my son change his playing time. No, but he learned how to handle adversity, increase his work ethic, be a team player and have a great attitude. That’s more important.