Sometimes sports parents overlook the small victories when their kids play sports.
Are you too busy looking for the big stuff–the touchdown passes, winning goals, home runs, or game-high points scored in a basketball game–that you overlook the small steps forward that your child is making? Of course you should rejoice in your child’s extreme successes, but there are many opportunities for you to rejoice in smaller victories for they are the stuff that everyday sports–and life–are made of.
I’ve been preaching the idea of small victories for a few years now, ever since I started writing this blog in 2010, and the other day I was reminded of the importance of this when I read my 20-year-old daughter’s blog.
Holli played sports all through elementary, middle and high school. She played two years of college volleyball before leaving college to pursue her dream of being a missionary. As she pursues that dream, she is learning some hard lessons. With each challenge, she learns once again the importance of the little things.
Holli’s Thoughts about Small Victories
Sometimes we miss the most beautiful things in life. You know why? Because our problems pile up and we get distracted with life, and these beautiful things appear smaller with our big problems. But as cliche as it sounds, it truly is the little things in life that make life worth it.
Do you let your frustrations with sports parenting, or even parenting in general, distract you from the truly beautiful things in your life each day? Perhaps you are so frustrated with the coach that you miss the fact that your child is becoming the encourager on the team. Or maybe you’re so worried about your child’s stats that you don’t see how your child is turning into a leader.
I am a perfectionist. I hold myself to a standard too high and if I do not meet this standard, I fail. And when I fail, I start to hate myself. And so time after time, failure after failure, my hate for myself grows. But I have come to realize somethings. As hard as this is for me to grasp, it is the small, little victories that make all the difference.
I am sure that many young athletes would echo Holli’s thoughts here. She struggled with this when she was playing sports and she struggles with it still.
I cannot recall one human in our history (Jesus is excluded) that has ever become good at something (or succeeded) withouth trying more than once, even failing more than once. Some of the most famous people in the world failed after several first tries. The first example that I think of that comes to mind is Michael Jordan who got cut from his high school basketball team. Did that mean he gave up? No. He didn’t accept failure.
I challenge you to do the same. Don’t accept failure, but rather take the little victories. Those little victories add up into something big and beautiful. But make sure you take the time to stop and appreciate the little things because if not they will go unnoticed, and be in the past without any recognition. Some of the most beauitful things in life are small. But enough small things added up will equal something big.
Brick by Brick
When I read Holli’s blog post, I was proud of her insight and her strength, and I was reminded once again of the powerful impact playing sports had on her life. She began learning this lesson of appreciating the little victories years ago as a little girl playing t-ball and pee-wee soccer.
For all three of our kids, youth sports was one place where, game after game, season after season, they were not only playing a game, they were laying, brick by brick, a strong foundation of good character.
But here’s the deal: yes, your child will learn life lessons when playing sports, but that will not be the end of it. He will turn around and re-learn those very same lessons on a new level as an adult and if he has a strong foundation already in place, it will make all the difference in the world.
And what difference is that?
The difference is this: when your child is young and playing sports, you will be the ones encouraging him to look for the small victories. But when he grows up with the tools in place to face his adult struggles, he will be preaching this truth to himself, just as Holli is.
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