I listened to a great message yesterday that I thought was worth passing on. The topic was perfect for the parents of athletes (All parents for that matter, but we will stick to parents of athletes for this article).
The speaker noted that parents, understandably, want to help their children during times of trial, but asked the question if we were stunting the growth of our children by doing so. He used the analogy of a baby chick needing to fight and peck it’s way out of the eggshell. It is this struggle that gets the chicks circulation system operating as needed for survival.
How many times have we stepped in to bail out our children in order to help them avoid the consequences of a poor decision. Or by talking to the coach or teacher rather than insisting that the child speak up and talk to the coach on their own. All of us have been guilty of that!
Participation in athletics is the perfect training ground for developing coping skills, endurance and confidence. That is, if we give them room to grow. Fight the temptation to fix everything or blame a failure on coaches, officials or teammates. Let them figure out the solutions, even if you see your child in some emotional pain. (Much easier said than done, I know.)
Today the problem could be playing time, a dropped pass, a bad shot, a coach criticized their effort or they ran a bad race. Serious issues for a 16-year-old athlete for sure.
But before long the problem could be a marriage on the rocks, a demanding boss, financial problems … or the trials of being a parent themselves. Much larger issues with more serious consequences. Let them build the emotional muscle today so they can handle the adult problems they will certainly face in the future. You will still be worried about them even when they are adults (your job), but you will be confident that they can handle the challenges of life because of their developed strength.
So when your child struggles this season, you can privately celebrate those moments, because you know they are building maturity muscles. Simply be there to tell them that you love them and you have confidence in their ability to handle the problem.
It is never easy to watch your child in pain, but who said being a parent was easy … it most certainly is not!
High School Athletics… building boys and girls into men and women of character, one difficult challenge at a time.
I love this job!