Youth Sports – Parents Tip 2
Advocate or Educate?
As parents, we all want to see our kids succeed and give them every advantage we can to do so. But there is a fine line between advocating and being over-protective. Youth Sports is more than just playing a game. Youth Sports is about learning life skills that will prepare our children to face adult life head on, tackle challenges, adapt and overcome obstacles in the pursuit of a goal. There is a great deal of learning to be done from failure. Failure teaches us how we need to improve, how to change our approach, and what skills we need to develop in order to succeed.
Its been said that football is a game of inches. A great analogy for having to win the battles before you can win the war. And what I really mean to say is that In order to teach our kids how to win or succeed at goal attainment, we must first teach them how to win the little battles along the way. As parents, we have to resist that instinct to advocate for our kids at every little obstacle, difficulty or mild injustice for in doing so we only take away the opportunity for them to learn how to overcome and persevere for themselves. Instead, be supportive and positive as they adapt, overcome and achieve!
Case in point – My son Johnny just got tripped up by the defense when he was on a touchdown run late in the second half. The official either didnʼt see it, or didnʼt call a penalty. Whether or not Iʼll admit it, I know that the defensive player did not intentionally trip Johnny, Come’on – these are 10 year old kids and very few have the potential for malicious intent … kids get tangled up when running and Johnny took a spill. It happens in youth sports.. But, we might just lose the game now.
Pop Quiz parents – Is this a time to Advocate or Educate? Should I yell at the official for not making a call or should I dust Johnny off, tell him he had a great run and go back and do it again? I may choose to advocate if my playerʼs safety is in jeopardy, but parents must understand that there is a risk of falling down while playing sports. And as far as the winning the game goes – well, there will be other games. there are no scholarships at stake today.
When kids grow to be young adults, they will need to be comfortable standing up, brushing themselves off and getting back in the game. If they stand still waiting for someone to recognize them and come to advocate on their behalf, life will run them over. So the next time you are cheering your kid on from the sidelines and get that urge to protect your player, ask yourself …
Is it time to ADVOCATE or EDUCATE?