Parenting an Athlete Series 2 of 3

Leadership begins casually with kids’ independent play. It is in these unsupervised moments that they experiment with leadership as well as being a follower. This process has a tremendous effect on how they choose their friends.

In sports, there are only two choices: you choose to become a leader or choose to be a teammate. There is no third choice. Apathy does not exist (for long) in sports. Leadership is a combination of words and deeds. Leading by example is a path many choose. However, an active role as a team leader requires words. We feel that it is vital for players to know the words and their meaning. Those words defining your family values emanate from your home and are demonstrated in competition.

Talking with children at home about the meaning of the words, helps them recognize your family values outside the home. In turn, they will more clearly recognize the values of others; good or bad. You’ll see them feel comfortable with similar values and awkward with differing values through team sports. Ultimately, they will choose their friends based on your family values. Your family’s words and actions lead to values. Those family values are then exposed and applied on the bench or the field in formal competition.

Whether or not you become a leader or a follower you must understand competent, ethical leadership. Let me pause here to remind or inform you that leadership is a skill, not a talent. Positive leaders are not born, they are taught. Many children are thrust into leadership as they are the biggest, most talented, prettiest, most handsome, or the coach’s child. Yes, many have a natural propensity to lead. However, advanced ability to communicate, accept risk, and possess a vision may not in any way guarantee those actions are focused with integrity and your family values. I’m sure you have seen this in the past.

The basis of positive leadership, devoted teammates, and choosing friends is trust. Trust in the information presented, and trust that someone is telling you the truth. Relationships end when someone tells you a lie or gives you bad information. As a coach or teacher telling the truth is the core of our skill.

NEXT WEEK:  Part 3 – Who Do You Get the Truth From? Too much information from too many sources can confuse the parent and child. Continual exposure to proven fact and trust in the teacher is a lifelong goal and a primary ingredient to a successful learner.