I Want A Do-Over!!!
Updated: Oct 16, 2019
It is in the spirit of only wanting to help others that I share any advice about raising athletes. My husband Carl and I certainly know that parenting is the toughest job we will ever have.
Carl is often asked advice about training and technique by parents of young athletes. The fact that he is a coach and a former professional athlete who has guided all four of our children to be successful athletes results in him being sought out for advice. I, on the other hand, am asked advice about dealing with attitudes such as sibling rivalry, self-esteem, and ways to motivate.
Now that we are older and our children are young adults whose playing days are over, we can look back and recognize the importance of our physical and emotional involvement with our children. We also realize that we did some things right, but on some points, we really missed the mark.
I will always remember the first time I heard Pam Tebow speak at a women’s conference. By the time she finished her speech, I could not wait to get home so that I could apologize to my children. My sister who had raised three sons must have been feeling the same sense of parental regret because she turned to me and said, “I want a do-over.” We jokingly recall how inadequate we felt compared to this wonderful mom who was so willing to share her life story with us. In fact, even Pam Tebow has confessed that her family is not perfect either. None of us are. That being said, we have learned that unfortunately we don’t get do-overs, but we can choose to move forward and share our successes and failures in order to help others.
This is the reason Carl and I stress three points to parents who come to us for advice on raising successful athletes. Again, some of this advice comes from doing it the right way, but some comes from deep regret.
1) Be the parent who encourages your children when they perform well and when they perform poorly. Trust us that they know, their coaches know, and their teammates know when they perform poorly. They don’t have to hear it from you.
2) Engage in family activities other than their sporting events. Your children, like ours, will grow up and play their last game. Be ready for a leisurely game of golf, fishing, hunting or whatever their interests might be.
3) Make service to others part of your family’s identity. This is probably the most profound thing you can do for your family. If you engage your family in volunteer opportunities, I promise you that your family will receive more than you could possibly imagine.
In the summer of 2012, we conducted a sports/character camp through our non-profit, Athletes to Champions. We had a great group of young kids who were pumped about a week of fun sports, and we had several college athletes assisting as counselors. One of those counselors was Xavier Brewer, linebacker for Clemson University. Xavier was more than a former high school and college teammate to my son; he had spent most of his high school years in our home. His life story resonated with many of our campers who- like him- didn’t always have a stable home life. Xavier shared with an eager young audience a saying that had been taught to him by Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney: “A smart man learns from his own mistakes, but a wise man learns from the mistakes of others.”
Let’s take Coach’s advice and be blessed beyond the ballfield!