The following is an excerpt from my interview with Mike Smart on my podcast, You’ve Got This.
Mike Smart, a certified Leadership Parenting Coach through the John Rosemond Leadership Parenting Institute, runs Parenting Outsmarted. He also has more than 30 years’ experience as a classroom teacher and basketball coach. Mike speaks on all things parenting, and teaches with a down-to-earth, yet informative, light-hearted approach. A father to four grown children and grandfather to five, Mike still teaches part time at local junior high and high schools in the Columbus/Springfield, Ohio, area.
I wanted to talk you about sports, and how crazy things have gotten. I played sports as a child and played softball and basketball in high school, and I don’t remember my parents coming to many home games, especially in high school. But nowadays, parents are at every game and every practice. What changed?
Mike: I think we conflate being a good parent with attending every function. And in the last decade, we parents have maybe wanted to run the show more than it used to be done. That can be good, but we’ve got to be careful as an parent that we don’t emphasize my athletic child’s achievement and events over maybe some other things we could do as parents in relation to their sporting events. The crazy parent is out there, and I’ve seen them at events as a basketball coach and referee, and a parent of a professional basketball child. I’ve seen parents get overly upset at games and that can show we may have some value issues.
I think it’s important as parents to help our kids keep that balance of being a kid first and an athlete or academic second.
Mike: For our faith-based listeners, if there was ever a human nature sin that’s tough for us to handle, it’s the self-centeredness, esteeming others better than ourselves, looking not on our things but on the things of others. We’ve heard, ‘love your neighbor as yourself,’ but do we ever really do that? Our whole lives focused on our accomplishments and what we do and what we have going on that day, so it can be hard to get your athletic child get the focus off himself or herself. As parents, we tend to love the achievement over character.
I also think we’ve lost sight of allowing our kids to play or perform because they like it. Not everybody will play professional sports.
Mike: I do some basketball training where I help kids improve their skills. The kids want to have fun, but the parents are always discussing with me why their child won’t work harder or put the effort into it. I hate to see them give up because of the pressure of parents. I see parents who exhibit self-control except when it comes to sports and their child. I think parents also need training, such as learning to bite their tongue when their child doesn’t have a good game, when a referee doesn’t make a good call, when their child doesn’t get to play much. When you don’t, you show your priorities to your child that you value sports over everything else.
For more on how to help your student athlete, musician, theatrical performer or academic, listen to “Preventing Swagger” on “You’ve Got This” podcast.
Visit Sarah online at sarahhamaker.com for more tips on raising kids.