Thursday, June 3, 2010
What’s right with youth sports, a lot, mostly the people, and in particular, parents. In the early stages of sports participation, the most important people involved are the parents of the young athletes. Parents play a large role in what sports their children will participate in, what organizations they will be involved with, and who will be coaching their children. They are the chauffer, wardrobe specialist, nutritionist, psychologist, personal manager and quite often the coach for their budding sports enthusiasts. They are the unsung heroes of little league.
Of all the roles a little league parent performs, which is the most important? While many will disagree with this next statement, I’m going to say it anyway. The most important day to day role of a parent in youth sports (or any children’s activity) is the role of chauffer. I know this seems to trivialize the parents' role, but consider these things before letting that thought take root.
One of the greatest benefits of sport participation is learning to develop good habits. With most of our lives scheduled to the minute, what is more important than habitually being on time and always fulfilling the time commitment we’ve made to a job, organization or team? Since children’s arrivals and departures are dependent on parents, their habits of being early or being late, fulfilling their time commitment or not, will come from their parents.
Drive time gives parents an excellent opportunity to talk to their children with few distractions. Communication is a key ingredient in the parent/child relationship. Take advantage of chauffer time to fulfill your duties as a nutritionist, personal manager, good listener, etc. While your wearing the chauffer hat you have a captive audience. Today's vehicles are rolling entertainment centers. Do your best to eliminate some of the built in distractions that causes and spend some time talking and listening to your children and their friends. Most children appreciate a pleasant conversation with Mom or Dad over watching a DVD on a nine inch screen.
So, parents, relax. One of the greatest life lessons learned from sports comes from simply getting your children to and from practice and competitions on time. It’s simple, it’s easy, it’s necessary, it’s a basic ingredient in a successful lifestyle and it creates opportunities to talk (or just listen) to your children. Keep up the good work!