Raising children is a monumental job, one that, quite honestly, is more effective if you don’t try to do it all by yourself.
Part of a parent’s job, I believe, it to surround your kids with other adults who will be good role models and who will pour something positive into their lives.
My husband and I recognized that raising children was a job requiring assistance, so we sought to bring other people into our kids’ lives who we knew would be great influences on them: older cousins, aunts and uncles, family friends, youth leaders, teachers, coaches.
There’s a huge opportunity for this kind of influence in youth sports. I fear, however, that many parents are not seeing it.
Sports parents, do you choose teams, camps, private coaches and sports clinics based on the character of those in charge rather than on the eliteness of the organization? Are you more concerned about the coaches’ positive influence on your child than you are about the convenience of the team, camp or clinic?
Perhaps you’re tempted to look for winning teams or teams where your child may have a better chance of playing.
I challenge you to start being picky when it comes to the adults who are influencing your kids. Choose coaches, leagues and organizations that will be a positive, stretching, encouraging experience for your children. Choose leaders who are your “team,” leaders who care as much about your child’s character as they do about his athletic skills.
Raising children is a job that should not be done alone
Our kids are grown now – they’re 21, 24 and 27 – but even so our job of being parents is not over. Even though they still come to us for advice, I’m grateful for other positive adults and friends who speak into them as well. It’s almost as if my husband and I are not carrying the burden alone. We know we have people on our side who love our kids and want the best for them almost as much as we do.
Youth sports has many coaches who really do want to see kids develop as people, not just as athletes. Coaches who truly care about kids and want to see them grow in character and skill. Don’t settle until you find them for your child.
Janis B. Meredith, sports mom and coach's wife, writes a sports parenting blog called JBM Thinks. She authored the Sports Parenting Survival Guide Series and has recently launched a podcasting series for sports parents. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.