In reality, there’s no other experience he’ll have in life where you’ll be able to define for him so clearly the qualities it takes to be successful, and then work to help him develop those qualities. Develop them, yes, for his success in sports. But more importantly, develop them for his success in life. Soon he’ll be there, in manhood, and if he’s going to reach his potential in any area – as a spouse, a parent, a friend, or a professional – he’ll need to be equipped. This is the opportunity of your life as a parent to develop him into the hard-working, committed, resilient, passionate, selfless champion of an athlete and person he’s capable of becoming. But only if you have the foresight and big-picture perspective to see it.
Unfortunately, there are too many Blockbuster sports parents out there today. They’re cruising along or trudging forward without recognizing the incredible opportunity – or the important responsibility – they have to prepare their child for success tomorrow. There’s something bigger and better that’s possible in the future, but only if they see those opportunities and take advantage of them. It’s too bad so many don’t.
After all, if this is in fact the greatest opportunity he’ll have to get ready, then thisexperience – however it goes, good or bad – will probably have a major influence who he becomes. Odds are, who you’ve encouraged or allowed him to be as an athlete will translate into who he becomes in the important areas of his life as an adult. The lazy athlete can easily become the lazy parent. The uncommitted athlete? Now the uncommitted spouse. You developed a lifeless, weak-minded, selfish player. So who have you encouraged or allowed him to become as a man? Lifeless, weak-minded, and selfish, if I had to guess.
If that happens, you might wish someday that you had recognized the incredible opportunity you had back when your child was an athlete. If you’d used those experiences well back then – you might come to realize – it could have changed who he became, on the playing field and beyond.
In the business world, Netflix became what’s known as a disruptor. When a new company is distruptively innovative, it means they’ve determined not only how to succeed in the here and now, but more importantly they’ve anticipated the future and prepared themselves for success moving forward – even if that means changing the traditional way things have always been done. They disrupt the status quo; that’s what Netflix did. Blockbuster blindly and naively made choices with the present moment in mind and never saw the big picture. Soon, that lack of foresight left the company unprepared and bankrupt.
Don’t be a Blockbuster sports parent. Even if your child is having success as an athlete today, you’ve got to see clearly your opportunities to prepare him for the bigger, more important moments that are coming in his life. Don’t blindly and naively make choices with the present moment in mind, without also seeing the big picture; if you do, then someday your lack of foresight may leave your child unprepared and bankrupt.
Instead, I hope you’ll become a disruptor of a sports parent. That you’ll determine not only how to help your child succeed in the here and now, but more importantly you’ll anticipate the future and prepare him for success moving forward – even if that means changing, in your own life, the way sports parenting has always been done. If you’re willing – to anticipate, to prepare, to change – you’ll find a new, meaningful purpose for this important role you play in the life of your child. And I think you’ll see the blockbuster of an opportunity that stands before you.