20 Nov Right Action
As a sports parent I am too familiar with stories of parents behaving badly in the sports arena. If you’re a sports parent, you might feel the same way. As much as it saddens me to admit, I too have been that parent at times, trying too hard to achieve perfection in my parenting and my athletes. Maybe you can relate.
However, today I want to share a story that literally brought tears to my eyes. A story of a parent doing the right thing when it came to a difficult situation in an important game. Let me share it with you.
“In the last inning with the score tied, two out, and the opponents in scoring position, a parent’s son committed a costly error on a routine ground ball that should have been the third out. A run scored, and the team’s hopes for the crown went up in smoke. The boy’s father was also the team’s coach, and once the game ended, he walked onto the field to comfort and embrace his son as the boy cried profusely.” (Lynch, J., 2016)
Did you hear that? He didn’t role his eyes, throw down his clipboard, or yell at his son. Even more, he didn’t tell his son not to cry. He saw in the moment that his son was feeling disappointed and devastated and he comforted him in the midst of this emotional storm.
Have you ever been that kid? Have you ever felt that you let your team down when they needed you most? How do you think you’d feel if your parent or your coach reacted the way this parent did? Do you think you would react in the same way if this was your son?
Jerry Lynch describes this as “Right Action” and something parents should strive for in sports. It involves being mindful in the moment and nurturing greatness in our kids. “You must learn how to guard the spirit and passion of those you parent, helping your kids to discover the goodness within themselves and empowering them with the notion that they are, indeed, great warriors who are capable of accomplishing their dreams.” (Lynch, J., 2016). This approach can reduce the fear and anxiety your kids experience in sports, they will build confidence, take more risks, and feel free, energetic and joyful. Their sense of self-worth will not be conditional on their performance or your approval.
The first step is right action is mindfulness. Mindfulness allows us to anchor ourselves in the midst of busyness and emotional storms. It allows us to step back and see things for what they really are, to realize what is really important so that we can pursue our values. We become more responsive and less reactive.
You can practice mindfulness by taking moments through your day to pause and be present. Your breath is a great place to start. Try to slow your breathing, take several deep breaths while noticing your body. Pay attention to the movement of your chest, shoulders and stomach with each breath. Notice your thoughts and see if you can imagine them passing by like clouds passing in the sky. Allow your body to shift from stress and worry to calm and stillness.
For more information on mindful sports parenting:
“Let Them Play” by Jerry Lynch
Lynch, J. (2016). Let Them Play. Novato, CA: New World Library