It’s Friday! And that means for the dozens… AAAAND dozens of my fans, it’s Free Advice Friday. Let’s go!
I’m a father of an 8-year-old that I recently got involved in football. I wanted to get him into team sports because I feel they teach kids important lessons that make them into successful adults. However, some of the parents think I’m forcing him to be out there and also think I “cheer too aggressively”. I just want him to win and be happy. What should I do?
Allen, this is an excellent question. And you couldn’t have brought it to a more qualified single, childless 27-year-old who can barely take care of himself.
First off, an excellent choice having your boy play football. The man’s game. The ultimate team sport. I agree that it’s important to learn lessons playing sports, and there’s so many he can learn playing football that he wouldn’t anywhere else.
But, what do you do if your child isn’t putting the effort into it that he or she should? How do you even know if he is or not? What do you do about those other parents sticking their nose in business it shouldn’t be in?
Don’t worry. I’m here to help.
At the end of the day, you want the best for your child. What’s better than them being the best at everything they do? You want your child to win and be the best, don’t you?
Of course you do.
I know you want your child to win every game they play, but if you want them to play their hardest, nothing works better than screaming at them at the top of your lungs.
Let me finish…
Children are liars. Children are sneaky. Children spread scabies. That last one has nothing to do with this particular subject matter, but hey… rule of threes.
The point is, kids are not trustworthy. They, by nature, are pathological liars. They tell you that they didn’t eat the doughnut you left on the counter when you didn’t eat it and the chair was moved over next to the counter and they have white powder on their face, so unless they have a horrible drug habit, you know damn well it was them. I WAS SAVING THAT UNTIL THE COFFEE FINISHED BREWING.
Anyway, you can’t ask a child if they were giving all their effort, because they will just simply lie to you. However, if you angrily scream at them and make vague threats about having to maybe walk next to the car on the way home because only winners ride shotgun, you might see what they can really do on the field.
You may get stares from the hippie parents that “would never do that to my child”, but you just have to press on. Instead of breaking apart dried, white animal poop they find on the sidelines, their kid could take notes while yours runs for a 43-yard touchdown on a toss sweep.
Sometimes yelling isn’t enough. Sometimes you have to be psychological. Make sure they know they’re not only playing to win, but they’re playing for your love.
“You not wrapping up on a tackle is the reason your mother and I fight, son!”
Tell me he’s not going to have perfect form in week 2.
Kids are kids. To them, it’s just a game. It’s just time they get to play outside, have fun with friends, and make new ones. But, you and I know that it’s more than that. It’s not just a game. It’s a lifestyle choice.
It’s all about winning.
You grow into adulthood. That’s what you have to live in. You don’t stay in your childhood forever, so who cares if they have a good one? Prepare them now to have a good life later.
Just look at the 1984 classic The Karate Kid. Remember the bad guy in that movie? What was his name… Daniel Larusso? Yeah, he won the tournament, but he cheated and robbed the beloved protagonist Johnny Lawrence of his rightful first place trophy from the All Valley Karate Championship and stole his girlfriend. But, I guarantee Johnny’s a more successful adult, because fear did not exist in his dojo.
Parents, when your kid grows up to be a successful investment banker or sports agent or corporate raider involved in hostile takeovers, I highly doubt they will remember for one second that their parents screamed at their ballgames, embarrassing them and themselves in front of everyone present. I doubt they will remember at all that their parents molded them into future douchebags by acting like total b-holes at a children’s sporting event.
I’ll bet they remember that first place trophy you’ll still keep above the fireplace and talk about every Thanksgiving. I’ll bet they remember their parents being loving, tender motivators.
I’ll bet they remember being a winner.
So, it’s really all up to you, Allen. If you want your child to become “well-rounded” by learning leadership skills, teamwork, self-discipline, patience, perseverance and the importance of respect, then be uninvolved and unenthusiastic like the rest of the do-nothing parents that let their child learn that “on their own”.
But, if you want your child to be a winner, then keep doing your thing, my friend. Scream and yell, verbally express your disappointment, and show them they can get what they want by disregarding how they behave in private and in public.
Yeah. You may scar them and make them terrible people and they may very well hate you for the rest of their lives, but at the end of the day, they will be a winner.
And isn’t that what it’s all about?
If you seek wisdom or have any question you would like Jake to answer, email him at CupOFourtay@gmail.com with the subject “Free Advice Friday”.