I’ve always wondered why we have a holiday celebrating hard work. What’s to celebrate? After all, says the prevailing theory in life, hard work is not fun.
That attitude has seeped into the youth sports culture. Parents, coaches, and leaders have given kids plenty of reasons to hate hard work. And because of those reasons, it should come as no surprise that many kids shun hard work. In fact, the way many parents and coaches portray hard work, kids should hate it. And when I say should I do not mean that hating hard work is a desirable thing, I mean that given the circumstance, it should be no surprise that your child hates hard work.
Are you giving your kids any of these reasons to hate hard work?
- A kid should hate hard work when he told that he should always be having fun. I fear the pendulum in youth sports has swung from hard-core disciplined no-drinks-of-water allowed youth sports to the extreme opposite. We’ve spawned a culture where everyone has to always be having a good time. And if they are not, then quit! There is a balance to be found; fun and hard work can co-exist.
- A kid should hate hard work if he is not being rewarded. Adults would not go to work every day if there was no paycheck at the end of the week or month. Rewards and results motivate us to keep working hard. Your child has got to see some positive results. The reward might be skill improvement, more playing time, victories, the joy of working together as a team, or even just the enjoyment of playing a game he loves.
- A kid should hate hard work if he not being encouraged. As parents and coaches, it’s important to dole out positive words along with the criticisms and critiques. If a child or even an adult only hears negative comments about his performance, even if he is working his butt off, hard work becomes even harder.
- A kid should hate hard work if someone is always trying to make things easy for him. Are you trying to fight your child’s battles as he plays sports? Are you stepping in to pick just the right team, the right coach, the perfect teammates? Are you smoothing the path before him so that there is no rocks to maneuver? If you are, then when hard work shows up, he will most likely run the other direction.
- A kid should hate hard work if he’s not failed and learned to come back from that failure. When we let our kids fail, and subsequently come back stronger because of it, they will see the value and respect the process of hard work.
How to Learn The Value of Hard work
There’s only one way to learn the value of hard work and that’s by doing it. As Margaret Mead once said, “I learned the value of hard work by working hard.”
Let’s not sugar-coat hard work for our kids, and let’s not provide short-cuts for the hard work that provides great growth opportunities for kids. There is nothing fun about working hard. But there is something fun about the result of hard work. And that’s what we should impress upon our children.
The results. The rewards. The successes. The small victories. They only come from hard work.
If you are reading my blog, I know it’s because you want your child to have a good youth sports experience.
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