SEE THINGS CLEARLY
Champions see things clearly. That’s the premise of The LENS book – that the best at what they do, in any area of life, have a unique perspective that sets them apart. They see clearly what’s really important and then devote their time, their attention, and their energy there. They also have the ability to recognize those areas that, despite their allure, aren’t really that important. While the average or mediocre might be distracted or drawn in, the best of the best avoid distraction and maintain their focus. The champion’s perspective provides clarity on what matters most, and that’s where their attention gets directed.
Living as a champion sports parent is no different. Raising and developing a young person who reaches their full potential on the playing field – and then who’s prepared to live their best life beyond it – requires a unique perspective. In this area of life, there are so many distractions. You’ve gotta be able to see clearly what really matters and what really doesn’t, and to keep your focus where it belongs. If you’re working to develop a champion young person of your own, then here are three areas where you need to make sure you’re seeing things clearly today:
1. See clearly your immense responsibility.
Raising a champion is not easy work. In fact, it’s a huge challenge. Accepting this responsibility in life means accepting the same struggle that comes with building and developing anything great. It will be slow, challenging, inconvenient work. These are reasons some people might choose not to accept the responsibility. The champion sports parent, however, sees that the harsh reality of this slow, challenging, inconvenient work doesn’t justify not doing the job. In fact, that reality is validation that this work must be done – that it’s an important, meaningful, and worthwhile endeavor.
Yes, the champion parent has accepted a huge responsibility, but they see clearly that this is work they'll never regret doing. Each one of us has to make choices each day on what we give our time, energy, and attention to. Unfortunately, too many people reach the end of life and regret that they gave too much of themselves to things they realize actually didn’t matter that much, and too little of themselves to things that should've mattered a lot. They see things clearly, but at that point, it’s too late. Yes, teaching, developing, and equipping your child for real, authentic success in the world is an immense responsibility, but it’s a responsibility you’ll always be proud you've accepted.
2. See clearly your great opportunity.
Despite the responsibility, the champion sports parent recognizes how lucky they are. As the parent of an athlete – regardless of his age or ability level – you have a great opportunity not everyone gets to experience. That’s because sports provide a great training ground for building and developing the qualities it takes to become your best. Of course, the experience itself should be fun, and the champion sports parent doesn’t allow themselves to lose sight of that simple truth. The LENS book states it plainly:
“If your son is an athlete at any level, his participation in sports is an opportunity experience. Regardless of his age or ability level, watching him on an athletic field is a privilege existing on a deadline. Enjoy it and take advantage of it while you can. It won’t last forever, and you’ll miss it when it’s gone.”
-The LENS book
The champion sports parent sees clearly the chance to do something fun, but that’s only one part of the opportunity. Just as importantly, this parent sees the chance to do something valuable. What your child can learn from their participation in sports (if you're intentional about making it happen), and the extent to which they can learn, can’t be matched anywhere else. You can use their experiences as an athlete to teach them some valuable lessons and cultivate some unique qualities. Those who’ve reached their full potential in sports have developed certain skills and abilities, certain talents that separate them from everyone else. The LENS book identifies them as the talents of a champion:
As a parent, there is no better opportunity than your child’s experience in sports to work on developing and cultivating these qualities. Regardless of his athletic ability, they’ll lead him to his full potential – on the playing field, sure. But more importantly, each of these talents translates to the bigger successes your child can achieve when his days as an athlete are over – success as a talented spouse, parent, friend, and professional. The champion sports parent sees clearly this great opportunity – to teach, to train, and to equip their child, and they’re committed to taking full advantage.
3. See clearly your vision for the future.
Finally, the champion sports parent has a clear vision for who it is their child can become. For anyone working to build and develop anything great in life, that vision is so important. As the great author and speaker Jon Gordon says, “If you can see it, you can create it. If you have a vision then you have the power to make it happen.”
So do you have a vision for the athlete – and more importantly, the person – your child can become? Stop and consider for a minute the list of talents we mentioned above, and imagine what your child might look like – in sports and in life – with each of them fully developed. Imagine your child with a deep love and passion for what they do. Your child, who knows how to give their very best. Your child, who can overcome any challenge or adversity. Who’s developed a genuine desire to get better. Who supports and uplifts those around him. Who recognizes the value of getting coached. Who has the courage to really go for it in life. Who understands the power of a positive attitude. Take a minute and picture that athlete. Picture that person – that talented spouse, or friend, or professional you've helped to build and develop. Talk about a powerful vision! I hope today you can see it clearly. I truly believe if you can see it, you can create it. And that you have the power to make it happen.
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