What do you want sports to do for your child?
A full ride would be nice. Even a partial scholarship would excite most parents.
If that’s your child, that’s awesome! It’s exciting to see your kids go on to play at the college level.
But beyond the money, the recognition, the “fame”–what do you want your child to get from his years of hard work and your years of sacrificing for his success?
What should you want your child to gain from playing sports?
Think about nurturing these three character traits each time your child dons his uniform.
Persistence. She will learn perseverance when she is forced to compete for a spot on the team or a chance to get on the field or court. He will become more determined when He finally gets on base after going hitless for several games or when he can play several minutes of soccer or basketball without needing to rest. She will develop tenacity when she must work hard to get on her coach’s radar and earn the playing time she wants.
And then, guess what? He will carry that persistence with him when he graduates and has to look for a job or work on a marriage or fight for his health.
Confidence. You can preach confidence all you want to your child, but you cannot teach it. It is something she must learn as she works and grows and succeeds. He will grow in grit as he sees results from his hours in the weight room. She will become bolder as she sees that the speed training really did make her faster. He will have more courage to take the shot when he knows that he can make it.
And then, guess what? She will carry that confidence with her when she faces a demanding boss, is forced to move and make new friends, or when she must give an important presentation at work.
Cooperative spirit. Your child will learn teamwork when he realizes that passing the ball gives someone else a better shot at the basket or goal. She will learn to be cooperative when she recognizes that maybe she’s better in the outfield than at shortstop. He will understand the meaning of collaboration when he sees that 5 or 6 or 9 or 11 teammates can get the job done, but one can’t.
And then, guess what? She will carry that cooperative spirit with her when she shares a room or apartment at college. He will remember the importance of teamwork when he and his spouse work together to raise their children. She will know that cooperation with her co-workers is the best way to the work done.
Can you see past the strike-outs, the goals scored, the matches won, the press clippings? If you can get a glimpse of what your child is really learning each time he plays, then you will understand the true beauty of competition and see its fullest glory as your child’s character blossoms.