The Family

The Family

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Football and Parenting

It's a beautiful view from a place I did not expect to be last night.

After tailgating, my plan was to take the children home while the hubby went to the game. We have two faculty tickets we purchase yearly. I usually don't use my ticket, but after finding two free tickets for the children, we all headed to the stadium!

Even though our team lost, the guys played better than they had all year.

This season has thus far been a disappointment for fans and players alike. Thinking about our team has left me pondering the parallels between football and parenting more than once these past few weeks.

Pardon my rambling as I attempt to explain:
1. Football players don't start a game with the desire to lose anymore than our children start a day with the goal to disobey or be disorderly. They are children and by their nature end up needing A LOT of correction and guidance. A team's quarterback isn't trying to stick it to the fans by throwing lousy passes. He would just as soon bask in the glory of an amazing throw as anyone. The receivers don't want to drop the ball. They want to see themselves as an ESPN highlight for that amazing catch, not the other way around.  Our children aren't trying to ruin our day by making messes and disobeying. They are often doing nothing more than being themselves. As the day, or game, unfolds, troubles arise. Sometimes things go your way, sometimes they don't.
2. Struggles that come from loses often teach us more than our victories. Sure, it feels great to win. Everyone loves you when you are making them happy. On the flip side, one learns who will stand with them through the tough times. You learn more about the nature of life and can identify with others more through the struggles you yourself go through. When our children are down on their luck, they need us more than ever. They need encouragement and support, just as a football team needs to know its fans stand by the team win or lose. If it's one thing I despise about sports it's fans that boo their own team. I wonder how often yelling sounds a lot like booing to a young child's ear?
3. Noise and distractions are part of the territory. As players have to deal with taunts from the other team and obnoxious fans, children constantly have to filter outside voices. We as parents have to get used to the noise and chaos of energetic young children.  A coach's job includes helping players tune out the noise so they can focus. Part of our job as parents is to help our children decide which voices are worth listening to and which ones need to be filtered out. There will always be those willing to criticize, but plenty of others are willing to offer encouragement. We all need to understand that some criticism is helpful, but the encouraging voices are those we should take to heart.

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