plant those seeds


I love this cartoon. It’s a great representation of the eternal legacy and powerful echo of a father’s voice in the life of his kids. And just like that dad in the picture, I want you to see clearly today that as a champion sports parent, you have a great opportunity to plant some long-lasting, life-changing seeds in the life of your son through his experience in sports.

You may not be planting a tree, but you do have the chance to plant in the life of your boy the seeds of success, on the playing field and in life. We talk regularly here in the newsletter about the talents of a champion athlete and man:

*Loving the Game

*Giving His Best

*Overcoming Adversity

*Seeking Improvement

*Being a Teammate

*Getting Coached

*Taking Risks

*Having a Positive Attitude

Your son will not reach his full potential – in sports or beyond – without them, and they won’t be developed, at least to their max, unless you see that it happens. You are responsible for planting and cultivating them in your son – it’s a requirement of the champion sports parent. You are the one recognizing their value and prioritizing their development. Even if your son doesn’t see clearly their value today, you do, and the work you do in his life reflects that. Just like the dad in the cartoon, your message is simple: “Son, you may not see it now, but one day you’ll appreciate that you’ve developed the qualities of a champion – they are the truly important things in life.”

But as you know, just planting seeds isn’t enough. The real work comes in the commitment you’ve made each day to watering them. For the champion sports parent, watering the seeds means seeing clearly the opportunities to use events and experiences in your son’s life today – experiences that help him grow and get better for tomorrow. It means utilizing what happens to him today to teach, train, prepare, and equip him in the areas he where may not be strong yet – but areas you know he needs to develop in order to become his best. Watering those seeds means finding ways to strengthen the roots of those qualities every day and establish them as a part of your son’s make-up and identity.

This of course isn’t a process that happens overnight. The qualities of a champion can only be cultivated through a long process. It will include your son learning, trying, failing, struggling, growing, and improving...over and over again. Just as a tree’s roots can only be spread and strengthened one way – slowly and gradually, over time – so too must the talents of a champion in your son. This process requires your grit – what researcher Angela Duckworth defines as “passion and perseverance for long-term goals.” If raising a champion is your long-term goal, you’ll have to determine for yourself whether you’ve got the passion and perseverance to see it through.

Just like in the cartoon, someday – probably sooner than you think – your son will be a man. At that point, he’ll likely come to realize that there certain qualities required to become a champion in this world. He’ll also likely come to realize that a dad is the one person in the life of his son with the greatest opportunity to develop those qualities, and he’ll be able to judge then, for himself, just how deep-rooted they are in his own life.

When it comes time for him to be a champion, in sports or in life, how prepared will he be? In those moments, he’ll have to dig deep. And for the athlete or man whose roots are fragile and shallow, the opportunities he’s after will probably topple him to the ground. It’ll be evident to both of you what he doesn’t have, and in that moment, you’ll likely wish you’d have done things differently – that you’d have been more intentional about developing and strengthening the truly important areas in his life.

On the other hand, when the day comes for him to dig deep, I hope he’ll be prepared. If, driven by your passion and perseverance, you’ve worked each day to cultivate in your son the qualities of a champion, then when his moments come he’ll be ready. And when he attains his success, he’ll probably be able to recognize why. He’ll see clearly that you did the hard work necessary to plant in him the seeds of a champion. Just as you said he would, he’ll appreciate then the truly important things in life. And like the boy in the cartoon, his response will probably be simple. “Thanks, Dad!”