Ever wonder if all the travels, hotels, team meals, uniforms, and other sacrifices we make for our kids so they can play sports are really worth it? How about all the time away from family? Summer vacations no longer feel like vacations, and those family dinners and good old fashion last minute get-togethers don’t seem to come around as often.
So why do we do it? It is often said that our kids learn much more from our actions than our words. All these actions described above are teaching two very good lessons, sacrifice and discipline.
There were countless hours of transporting me to practice, not just local games, but often drives to other states even before the sun came out. Uniforms always washed, food packed, and all the while trying to encourage me to give my best effort. I’ll admit it wasn’t until later in life when I started running my own kids around that I realized all the sacrifices my mother had made.
But it is this same sacrifice when your child becomes an adult they will need to draw from to manage their lives. Whether it is at home, advancing their educations, or even their careers, there will be plenty of times they will need to make sacrifices, and your example will be living proof. We can only hope they remember, but again that’s what makes this an even greater sacrifice!
Even more important than the sacrifice we demonstrate maybe the discipline we are encouraging. Discipline is the ability to motivate oneself in spite of negative forces or ideas. We can all use more discipline in our lives, and I will be the first to admit, mine seems to come and go at times. Regardless, I don’t know where I would be if I did not have my experience from sports to draw from.
Again, my mother set the example. How many times do you not feel like getting out and taking your child to practice or missing a game because of a social event so they can play in a game? Somehow you find the willpower to get up and do it.
Discipline includes willpower, hard work, and persistence. In the competitive real world we all live in, these traits are almost a must. Your child is learning this first hand. There will be plenty of days they will not feel like playing, maybe even seasons. Regardless, if they truly want to be the best they can be, they will need discipline to overcome these negative forces and continue to work towards their ultimate goals.
Sports really do teach us many important life lessons. The next time you feel a little tired or start looking for reasons to encourage your child not to participate, remember it may not be until years later all the rewards are reaped. Dig deep, be willing to sacrifice a little more, and know the discipline you are demonstrating and they are living can have a positive impact on their lives for years to come. You are building a base that your child can draw on, all the while getting to enjoy watching their development first hand.