CELEBRATE YOUR INDEPENDENCE
As The Fourth of July came and went this week, I hope you had a chance to enjoy some time with friends and family. Whether you were hanging at the pool, grilling in the backyard, or proving to your neighbor that, despite his best effort, you were in fact the fireworks expert in your cul-de-sac, July 4th has always been a day to celebrate our country’s independence. More than 200 years after the Revolution, we're still remembering those Americans who fought for the right to make their own way, to choose for themselves, and to author their own story.
Freedom, I think we can all agree, is a good thing. In fact, in many ways, most of us probably take for granted just how good a thing it is. In any area of our lives, the power we've been afforded to make our own way, to choose for ourselves, and to author our own story is important and valuable. It's worth celebrating. Unfortunately, despite the freedom we possess in this day and age, too many of us today don't celebrate our independence enough.
That’s because more and more people in our culture seem to have adopted a “herd mentality.” Despite all this freedom we have to choose, too many of us seem to decide what’s best, or what’s cool, or what’s most productive based solely on what everyone else is doing. Instead of thinking independently, we just blindly follow the herd. Sometimes, of course, the masses are on to something; it's possible they're worth listening to or even worth following. But sometimes – oftentimes, even – we’re better off avoiding the herd mentality, celebrating our independence, and thinking through and then making choices for ourselves.
Nowhere is this more evident today than in the role many of us play as sports parents. There has become an increasingly powerful and equally unproductive herd mentality in the world of sports parenting. Despite the freedom that each of us has to choose for ourselves the path our young athletes should take toward their full potential, too many of us decide what’s best, or what’s cool, or what’s most productive based solely on what everyone else is doing. I hope you’ll see clearly today that even though sometimes the masses are worth listening to, you need to recognize that sometimes – oftentimes, even – you’re better off avoiding the herd mentality, celebrating your independence, and thinking through and then making choices for yourself.
That's one thing that separates the champion sports parent from everyone else. They aren't afraid to stand out from the herd. That’s because they’re more focused on doing the right thing for their child than they are focused on what everyone else is doing. The champion sports parent sees that each child is unique to other kids in the way that they learn, grow, and develop, and for that reason this parent sees the truth – that there is no cookie-cutter formula for developing a champion. Just because someone else has chosen their path - or naively had it chosen for them - doesn't mean the champion sports parent has to do the same. Before they blindly make a decision, they have the awareness to ask themselves, “Is this the right thing for my child ?” Then, despite pressure from the masses, the champion sports parent makes decisions because it’s the right thing for their kid’s growth and development; not because it's what everyone else is doing.
The champion sports parent is more focused on doing the right thing for their child than they are focused on what everyone else is doing.
It’s worth taking the time today to stop and consider where this herd mentality is leading the majority of young athletes and their parents. Despite the huge investment of money, time, and energy that parents are putting into the experience, there aren’t, unfortunately, that many champions getting developed. It seems there are more and more burnt-out, disinterested, entitled, lazy young athletes today than ever. And while that number continues to grow, the number of kids becoming their best - kids who are passionate, tough-minded, and hard-working, prepared to live their best life on the playing field and beyond - seems to be diminishing.
I’m confident I know the kind of athlete you're hoping your child becomes. Especially with the investment involved, I doubt any parent would willingly choose burnt-out, disinterested, entitled, or lazy. But I want you to see today that by not embracing the power they have to choose, that's exactly the choice many sports parents have made. They followed the masses…and now probably regret it. My hope for you this Fourth of July is that you’ll celebrate your independence by ditching the herd mentality. I hope you'll think through and then make decisions today that are focused more on helping your child get better and focused less on what everyone else is doing. I hope you'll consider the power you have to make your own way, to choose for yourself, and to author your own story as a sports parent. I'm confident that's a decision you won't regret.
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