Wisdom Wednesday: Spring Sports and Good Moral

April 30, 2008 at 6:21 am | Posted in 1, children, dads, Families, Family Time, Fun Activities, GEM Parenting Secrets, Health, moms, Mothers, parents, relationships, Safety, Self Esteem, siblings, sports, teens, Tweens, Wednesday Wisdom, Welcome | 2 Comments
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Spring Sports and Moral

Sports are such a major part of our lives these days. Parents sign kids up months in advance. They take them to tryouts at younger and younger ages. The practices are anywhere from twice a week to every afternoon. And the competitions take at least one weekend day, with tournaments taking both days. Why in the world do we have our kids “free” time filled with sports? What is the draw? And the bottom line, is it healthy for our children’s self esteem? If it is not healthy, what do we do?

Human beings are by nature group-oriented. We live in societies. We engage in interactions with others. Human beings, also by nature, relish in being challenged, and part of all the stress we create for ourselves comes from this need of ours. Finally, children love to be active and physical and voila, sports for children seem to fit the bill perfectly.

However, why do we have sports for children when thirty years ago, sports played by children was predominantly part of school or ad-hoc empty field games? Why do we have tryouts for young children and organized sports now?

This change comes from some whole culture changes. In the past (50+ years), most children actually had lots of necessary physical activities. Walking was the main mode of transportation. Children would easily walk four to ten miles a day, just getting around without cars. Life was obviously structured without all the conveniences we have, thus physical activity just existed. There was no need to implant it in our lives.

The other major cultural change is electronic entertainment. Again in the past, children had to create their own entertainment. This was often a challenge. It took mental strength and ability. The most popular kids were not the ones with the gadgets, but the ones who had the best imaginations. You can still find these kids, but our media has taught us to look for gadget owners as being the ones to follow.

Our children now need to be entertained rather than create their own challenges. With these two major changes in our society, a huge hole was left for kids. They do not have enough physical activity and they look to be entertained rather than create and challenge themselves. These two cultural changes and our innate human tendencies to need physical activity and challenges makes children’s sports the perfect answer to accommodate our needs.

Given the perfect situation: parents, coaches, teammates, and child all filling roles with enthusiasm, respect, enough challenge, physical activity, freedom to create and play outside the actual regulated sport, then you will have a wonderful time with sports for your children. But perfection is not always the case and as children get older parts of the picture get skewed. That is when sports can and does diminish moral and self-esteem.

So what are your choices? Pull your kid out? Stick it out? Find another team? Make changes where you are? All of these have merit, except stick it out. To make changes first look to yourself. Ask yourself these questions: How am I contributing to the negative aspects of this sport? Check that you communicate respect, enthusiasm, and appropriate disappointment. Be sure to express yourself as your child’s advocate. Your next place to look is how the coach handles the team. If the coach is constantly belittling the players, having too many drills, treating young children as if they were teenagers, forcing players to feel guilty, then you need to talk with the coach. Rather than tell the coach how to be different, find an article, suggest a speaker for the team/parents/coaches. In other words don’t attack the coach. If you are unable to get any change with the coach find another team. If what is happening to your child is seriously detrimental, then pull your kid out right now.

When the parents as a whole are overly aggressive and demanding perfection from their kids, again get some articles that give new ideas, or get a speaker to come. Try not to challenge or attack these parents. Generally if you do, they will shut down to change. As the parent you have both the responsibility and the privilege to help your child grow into the most illuminating gem. Sports can and does bring out wonderful parts of our children. Use that side of sports to guide you in your path of youth sports.

Grace E. Mauzy, M.A.
Founder of GEM Parenting
http://www.GEMParenting.com
Copyright © 2008 ♥ GEM Parenting ♥ http://www.GEMParenting.com

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2 Comments »

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  1. Hi,

    I managed to get a full athletic scholarship with advice from this book.

    Winning a Sports Scholarship

    I highly recommend reading the book and following his advice.

  2. Having a sport that can get you to and through college is one fantastic way to go. One more way that sports help raise self esteem.


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