Sunday, February 07, 2016
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An Open Letter to All Parents:
Why are you so afraid to see your kid fail?
Why are you so hell bent on protecting him from the pain of… “ I might not be the best” or “I might not be good enough.”
Maybe that’s exactly the message he needs to hear…. TODAY!
There are a thousand clichés with respect to dealing with failure and everyone has their own. But, rest assured, you CAN NOT GROW WITHOUT FAILURE. Yet, we agonize over every at bat. We agonize over a coach sitting them down or taking them out of the lineup. Aren’t you their parent for life? Aren’t you the least bit worried about how their character will evolve if they are never challenged with adversity?
I tell my baseball lessons almost daily… “I can make you feel good anytime I want. But, I choose to challenge you. If you walk out of here not knowing EXACTLY what you need to work on, I’ve failed you.” Parents, please do the same. We’re talking about one game, one practice, one tournament, one season. Your son’s character is for a lifetime. Don’t run from these opportunities. Help them to mold your son.
Seriously, what’s so wrong with saying… “You weren’t good enough today. Do you know what you need to work on?” What’s so wrong with demanding more of your son if is effort was lacking. Or, putting your arm around him and saying “that other guy was awesome today.” These are all noble actions that parents shouldn’t run from.
We need to realize that these sporting venues are opportunities.
Also, please don’t expect yourself to be the perfect parent all the time. You’re allowed to make mistakes and you’re allowed to yell. It makes you human. But, you’re also allowed to apologize. There’s something to be said for that too.
I see so much invested in these kids I’m afraid all we see is the current state of affairs. Being less than your best today doesn’t imply the same will be true tomorrow or in a week or even in a year. But, do right by your kid for the long haul. Stop protecting him from failure. Learn from it. Your son wants to know that you love him unconditionally. This doesn’t have to mean if he goes 0-4 or 3-4 you’ll be there with a hug and a smile. What this does have to mean is “I’m going to expect your best in baseball and in life- ALL THE TIME. If you’re not good enough today, I’ll help you figure out why. But, I am not going to ignore the fact that you weren’t good enough TODAY.”
Because at the end of the day, in order to become the person we want our son to become he had better had a whole bunch of failures come his way in life, that’s for sure. And what better way to help our son grow than to experience failure in such a trivial thing as baseball.
Now, love him up. Tell him when he’s good and help him through the bad times but don’t pretend they aren’t bad times. It’s baseball we’re talking about. There are always bad times.
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