IS JUST ANYTHING OKAY?
Building and developing anything great in this world requires a standard of excellence, a mark or measure of satisfactory performance. That mark separates the quality of the work done, choices made, or behaviors exhibited into two groups – those that meet the standard and are accepted, and those that don’t and aren’t. Then, over time, it becomes more and more clear the work, choices, and behaviors that measure up and those that don’t. If just anything that gets done is okay, then that means there is no standard; and no standard means no success. It’s true for building and developing anything great, including champion athletes and people. As a sports parent, you need to see clearly the significance of the standard you set.
You have to accept this responsibility for setting the standard while your young athlete is growing, learning, and developing the ability to do it for himself. Your child may want to be great, but he probably doesn't really understand yet what greatness requires. This doesn’t mean he’s a bad kid; it just means he’s a kid. Despite what they say, kids usually want what’s easiest, or most comfortable, or most convenient. Your child hasn’t experienced enough, succeeded enough, struggled enough, or learned enough to know what it takes yet. That’s why you’re here. As his builder and developer, you have to be able to see clearly what it takes, and then commit to the process of helping him discover it for himself.
Your child hasn’t experienced enough, succeeded enough, struggled enough, or learned enough to know what it takes yet.
That’s why you’re here.
I hope you're challenged today to stop and consider the standard you’ve set for your young athlete. Is just anything okay for you? If you’re a champion sports parent, then the answer is no. There must be times when you’re willing to say, “That’s not okay. It’s not good enough, and I cannot accept it.” Those words aren’t always easy, but if you’re serious about helping your child reach his full potential, you have to do more than just set the standard; you also have to enforce it. Here are a few areas where setting and enforcing a high standard are critical to your child’s success:
Set a standard for his effort…When it comes to your child’s effort, is just anything okay? If you're a champion sports parent, then the answer is no. That’s because the champion gives a singular effort. He gives his very best, period. The average or mediocre athlete gives a circumstantial effort. This athlete gives his best…until. Until it gets hard. Until it looks uncool. Until no one’s watching. For the average or mediocre, there’s a long list of “untils.” The standard you set in this area will help determine the standard he comes to accept from himself, in sports and in life.
Set a standard for how he treats others…When it comes to the way your child interacts with his teammates, is just anything okay? If you're a champion sports parent, then the answer is no. That’s because the champion athlete respects, uplifts, and inspires his teammates. He’s an energy giver who makes those around him better. The average or mediocre athlete degrades and diminishes his teammates. He’s not an energy giver – he’s an energy drain. The standard you set in this area will help determine the standard he comes to accept from himself, in sports and in life.
Set a standard for handling adversity…When it comes to the way your child handles adversity, is just anything okay? If you're a champion sports parent, then the answer is no. That’s because the champion athlete has developed his toughness and resilience. He understands that overcoming adversity is a part of any success story and that the challenges we face aren’t nearly as important as our response to them. The average or mediocre athlete is weak-minded and unprepared for those challenges. He spends less time working for success and more time wishing it was easier. The standard you set in this area will help determine the standard he comes to accept from himself, in sports and in life.
These are three great areas to set and then enforce a high standard for your young athlete. Each one is so important to his success, and each one is controllable. His age and ability level are irrelevant; so are the circumstances surrounding his performance. No matter what, your child can control the effort he gives, the way he treats others, and the response he chooses in the face of adversity. The more he experiences, succeeds, struggles, and learns how to meet the high standard you’ve set, the more like a champion your child begins to look.
Of course, the process of learning and developing isn’t easy, comfortable, or convenient. It will take some time and some practice. There will be plenty of days when your child doesn’t meet the standard. He won’t always give his best effort. He won’t always be a great teammate. And he won’t always handle his challenges well. It’s in those moments, as he’s being tested, that you’ll likely find yourself being tested as well. After all, he’s not the only one who’s got a standard to live up to. If you’re serious about being a champion sports parent, there’s also a high standard for you. You can’t accept just anything from yourself, either.
Just like your champion athlete, you are responsible for giving a singular effort. No circumstance – not even when your child hasn’t given his best – can keep you from giving your best. You are responsible for respecting, uplifting, and inspiring those around you – especially your child, regardless of how he's treated others. And you have to develop the toughness and resilience it takes to respond to your own struggles and challenges. You know, like when your child falls short of the high standards you’ve set.
Setting and enforcing a high standard for your young athlete requires that you set and enforce a high standard for yourself. Don’t settle for anything less than your best. Remember, if just anything that gets done is okay, then that means there is no standard; and no standard means no success.
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