Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sports Analogy Parenting Tips

I do my best to stay away from stereotypes.  Whether it's from being a young Black male, or a jock, I do what i can to not fit into the social norms and molds that we (even me) expect when we see someone such as myself.  I LOVE sports, but I'm not a sports nut.  I enjoy the strategy and tactical decisions made on gameday.  I also love to compete, and it doesn't matter whether I win or lose, but I will not always lose.  ;-)

I was thinking about some ways that dads are better at parenting, but i thought that would be alienating because there's some moms, and some family members who might slap me when they see me again.  I was going to turn it into a post about the changing roles of the Modern Dad, and how we handle certain situations, but I thought that would make me seem like I was trying too hard.   So I finally settled on doing some parenting tips in the form of sports analogies.  If you get lost in my "logic" or how I make the connection, I can't help you, because I haven't had enough coffee to be fully coherent yet.  So here it goes:

Parenting Tips as Sports Analogies:
  1.  Learn from mistakes and move on.  Every Sunday and Monday night we watch as quarterback after quarterback after [Hasselback] throws an interception, and screws up the momentum and flow that your team was on.  Maybe they even ruined a scoring opportunity and threw an interception in the endzone, or it was picked off and run back for 6 the other way.  Regardless of the reason, that QB has to get back out there again and NOT make that same mistake.  There are no counseling sessions, there's not interventions, there's not "we need to talk" moments with him and his coach; there isn't time.  With kids we need to learn from the mistake, quickly, and move on from it.  
  2. "Real-food" poopy diapers are NOT bonding moments.  The way I see it, if a NASCAR driver can have all four tires changed, and be refueled as quick as they do, then I should be able to change these human-crimes-in-diapers while holding a single breath.  Now, when they are little and breastfeeding and the poop is not bad smelling, and they are learning how to recognize you, then that's a GREAT bonding opportunity.  However, when they start eating real foods, and their poop now smells like $h!t, it's time to get it, change it up, and get out!  At this age, all the OTHER moments are for bonding.  
  3. The Head Coach doesn't coach alone.  No matter who the coach is, he is only as good as his assistants.  I don't want to get caught up in gender roles, but I've seen what happens to college programs and families when the head coach leaves the institution.  Don James (my favorite college coach, EVER) left the University of Washington (he was old and retired), and his assistant tried to fill in, and the program is still recovering from it.  I have had many heart-to-heart talks with kids growing up without their head coach, and it's a sad and unfortunate situation for those kids.  Maybe it's a head coach trying to coach without his assistant; that still doesn't work.  It may take a village to raise a child, but it takes a full coaching staff to create a winning program. 
  4. Study your scouting reports.  Watch your kids.  See what they like.  Give them dilemmas and see what decisions they make.  Watch what they watch.  Dance how they dance.  Joke how they joke... kind of.  I was never nervous about the opposing team because I knew what they would do in certain situations.  Get to know your kids early so that when they are out as teens, you know what their tendencies will be, and you know how they will handle situations that will arise.  
  5. The WWE is FAKE!  But while your kids are young, they should think they are winning, or beating you up for real.  Taking down giants, and the "strongest daddy in the world" builds confidence.  I win some, and I lose some, but she has fun, because it's all entertaining for her.  I don't want her to never try or think she knows I will always win.  What will that teach them?
I hope you enjoyed the list.  What else could I add to it?  Comment below!



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