Coaching is one of the best illustrations that I can think of when it comes to parenting and what our roles are as parents.
What do you think of when you see this list?
1. John Wooden
2. Vince Lombardi
3. Dean Smith
4. Bear Bryant
5. Herb Brooks
6. Dan Gable
Check out these quotes from these famous coaches:
“If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.” – John Wooden
“When you make a mistake, there are only three things you should ever do about it: 1. Admit it. 2. Learn from it, and 3. Don’t repeat it.” – Bear Bryant
“Football is a great deal like life in that it teaches that work, sacrifice, perseverance, competitive drive, selflessness and respect for authority is the price that each and every one of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.” – Vince Lombardi
“I wasn’t as critical during games as I was at practice. Players needed confidence during games more than criticism.” ~ Dean Smith
“Risk something or forever sit with your dreams.” ~ Herb Brooks
“Pain is nothing compared to what it feels like to quit. Give everything you got today for tomorrow may never come.” – Dan Gable
After reading these quotes, do you feel like you can conquer the world? This is what a good coach does. They motivate, inspire, model, instruct, teach, encourage, and these are the very things that we should be doing as parents.
Have you ever had a bad coach? My oldest daughter played volleyball in high school and one of the responsibilities of the parents was to volunteer to line judge multiple times throughout the season. One of the things that I enjoyed about being a line judge was getting to hear and see how different coaches would coach their teams. Some of the coaches that stood out to me the most, unfortunately, were the bad ones. They would say things like; “What did you do that for?”, “Why were you standing there?”, and “You should know not to do _______________”. These statements were not helpful to the girls who were playing volleyball. It only made them feel dumb and probably made them feel some sort of shame. When a coach only points out what we are doing wrong and doesn’t tell us, show us, or teach us how to correct that wrong, it gets very old very fast.
You could also think of a boss. How does it make you feel when your boss only points out what you are doing wrong? Does it motivate you to want to work harder? Does it make you feel excited to be on that team? Compare that feeling to how you feel when you feel appreciated by your boss, or when you get told that you are doing a good job, or when your boss offers you real solutions to help you do your job more productively. These things make you want to work harder.
I (Matt) find it easy to slip into a dictator mentality with my kids and what they really need from me is to be their coach. There is nothing appealing or motivating about being under the rule of a dictator, but when you have the privilege of being under a good coach, it is life changing.