As parents, we all want our kids to have success. Nothing wrong with that.
But I think the problem is that we are bent on seeing our kids have success today. That’s probably the biggest mistake we can make as sports parents.
Perhaps that’s sounds like a crazy statement to many of you. Surely we want to see our kids have success from the beginning, don’t we?
Well, lately I’ve been having some other ideas based on what I’m seeing in our kids now that they are out of college and done with sports.
Here’s my thoughts.
Why success now should not be the real goal
We want our kids to have success now. We want them to play enough minutes or innings today. We want them to make the all-star team now or get their names in the paper today.
When we do this, we are doing the very thing that we tell our kids not to do. Have you ever reminded them when they want things instantly that “you don’t always get what you want right away. Sometimes you have to work hard before you see results”? We try to steer them away from the impatient mentality that our society has fostered, the instant-everything culture.
But when we push our kids to have success now, we are doing the same thing. The success that we should really want for our kids is the kind that doesn’t come easily or quick. It takes patience and hard work. It takes persistence and plodding. It’s the kind of success that will stick with them for life.
You see, as fun as the accolades and accomplishments are, they are not the real success that we should be seeking for our kids. The real success is the character that grows in your kids and prepares them for life.
- I see this success when my teacher daughter faced a difficult class of kindergarteners this year, and she persisted and learned to manage her class successfully.
- I see this success when my son plods through an uncertain time in his life, and he continues to press on.
- I see this success when my youngest daughter struggles through a tough season and claims she will not give up.
Much of that character was nourished and grown as they played sports; all three played from preschool through college.
I admit, there were times when I was much too concerned about success today. I know how hard it is to look ahead and think long-term when it comes to sports parenting. We get very caught up in the here and now. But the here and now will be gone before you know it and when it is, the awards, the press clippings, and the accomplishments will only be fun memories. Those are not the “successes” that will stick with them for life.
So as you enjoy the youth sports journey with your child, soak up the fun and the victories along the way, but parent your child for success tomorrow, not for today.
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