Often unexpectedly, and sometimes even…publicly, it happens.
You may have never considered yourself to be a competitive person. Maybe you grew up indifferent to sports, or even if you were competitive, you would have never guessed that your son’s little league game could bring out something so strong and emotional and crazy inside of you. You might be angry at the coach, mad at the referee, or disappointed in your own child. A sporting event that began as fun and games can turn you into a raging, overly-excited, bordering on lunacy, soccer mom in a matter of seconds.
And in that moment the little part of you that is still sane and sensible is saying to the crazy-rest-of-you: What has happened to YOU!?
Kids sports can really bring it out in us.
Our kids are our treasures. We love them more than we love ourselves, and we want the very best for them. We want them to be wise and strong and to do great things in this world. Wrapped up in that whole package of wanting good things for our kids is the truth that whether we say it out loud or not, most of us want our kids to excel, to be the best and yes, even to win.
We want them to get the blue ribbon (and let’s be honest–not the one for participation) and we want them to excel in all that they do. In the heat of a game or match or contest, our emotions can quickly rise.
This phenomenon is only compounded when dealing with team sports and coaches or parents with different philosophies from your own. A casual walk up to the sidelines at a sporting event and you might just feel the friction in the air…
Though I don’t have an easy answer for any of this, what I will share is a couple basic principles that help me keep my cool in the midst of youth sports madness:
1. My children’s value will never be found in any sport or activity they do. Searching for significance in anything but a relationship with God will never satisfy. Keep perspective, parents!
2. Kids’ sports should be fun, educational, and social. Taking sports too seriously will rob our kids of valuable experiences on so many levels.
3. I can teach my child many character values through sports: Discipline, teamwork, commitment, and how to both win and lose with grace. Parents, let’s teach and model these things.
4. My reaction to different parenting or coaching philosophies is important. I can model humility and grace in the way I speak of and react to others.
5. Keep in mind that though my child may never compete as a professional athlete, he may indeed have a serious future in sports. My support and encouragement may make all of the difference in his future.
6. My greatest role is to support my kids, and let them learn and grow naturally from their sports experiences.
A verse to remember: 1 Timothy 4:8: “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”
Share in comments if you have surprised yourself with a bit emotion as it relates to your kids and competition.