Princeton Principles

Watch the man in front of you, he tells you what to do!

A parents role…….

This will always be a hotly discussed and contentious topic…………

My (empirically based) views, opinions and actions are as follows:

When you put your child into an organized sports program you do so for the purpose of wanting them to improve both at that sport and on a social level.

When you put your child into an organized sports program where the game is a TEAM game the improvement in those areas becomes that much more critical…………….sport specific skill AND socially specific skill.

If you don’t believe in TEAM then don’t put your child into a TEAM setting. IT WILL NOT WORK, for him/her or you.

Your focus will always be on your child and not the good of the team. If your focus is only on your child then your actions and comments will ALWAYS reflect that focus. It’s not necessarily intentional, it’s not necessarily evil but it is absolutely true and as a result there will be disappointment, disconnection and a lack of fun as well as camaraderie between you and your child and his/her and their team.

Your children count on you for so much! You are their providers and they want to please you. (Even if it doesn’t always seem that way……………….I speak from the experience of having two young adult children that my wife and I have raised) Because they want to please you if you make comments that are incongruous with the comments or teaching of their coach they will be in conflict which is bad…………… me when I say there is more than enough conflict already in their young lives.

If you put your child into an organized sports program only do so if you trust the coaching; the manner, style, fashion and content that the coach is espousing. If you don’t PLEASE do both you and your child a favor, find another coach/program that you do believe best suits your child BUT THEN TRUST THAT APPROACH.

As stated above your child very much wants to please and if you want him to please and make your interplay with him/her pleasurable try this simple approach:                                  Ask them to teach you what they learned in practice that day, or what coach discussed in the huddle. Don’t suggest what should have been said or taught! You will put your child in conflict, you will make yourself miserable, you will probably make your spouse miserable ……the only thing then gained is MISERY.

One of my mentors in life is Stephen Covey who wrote a book that I have read and continue to use as a personal bible. If you haven’t had a chance to read “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” I’d encourage you to do so and if you have read it pull it out again and get it reread. There are pearls of wisdom contained in those pages that are lessons of a lifetime. Lessons that if we apply and if follow will help guide all of us to a better, more centered life……….with that centering being on what you value most.

In that book Dr. Covey espouses that the best way to learn something is to teach it……..If you want your child to learn what he’s being taught let him/her teach you!

Finally, if you read other entries on this blog you’ll read quite a bit about TEAM. That word, those four letters are the very reason I coach (and a huge part of my professional life). I love and live for functionality.

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much”  Helen Keller once said. Think about it for you, for your child and for your family. We preach TEAM in every huddle, at every practice and in every drill; PLEASE don’t undermine these teachings! Cheer for every child on your child’s team like they are your own and if they are your own be encouraging as much as possible. (Homework and chores first of course but otherwise keep them having fun and interested in coming to pracice, not dreading it because they cannot live up to your expectations). Parents, have you taken the time to introduce yourselves to one and other? Do you know the names of evey parent of every child on the team? If so I commend each of you; if not I’d ask why. Your child will ultimately model your behavior…………teach TEAM, practice TEAM if you want that from them!

Kids are kids and these are games which should be fun. I am strict with my principles and do everything possible to keep your child accountable to what is expected. Ask them what those expectations are and how they are doing to keep up.

If you don’t or can’t leave “setting the bar” up to the coach there is a disconnect which you should act on….with the coach not your child. They are out there fighting the war of their pride, their maturity and everything else they see on television etc.

I’ll end this with one of my favorite  Teddy Roosevelt quotes, think of it when you think of your child, it certainly applys………..

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

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