The Sidelines

“Be the change you wish to see in the world” – M. Ghandi

The quote above has always appeared in my conscience since I first read it one fall day in college. It’s been somewhat of a moral compass, driving me in the way I act and treat others. We seek to teach our children the ways of the world, to work hard and become something better, surpass our level of success. Parenting should be a positive feedback loop, with each generation we see improvement, higher caliber humans; although, this isn’t always the case, we are that positive feedback loop in the eyes of our children. We are the example, or should be, of a good person.

Build a Better Human

The Spring brings about the switch from slumber to endless outdoor Summer activities. Youth sports take off, our schedules become hectic and we spend the majority of our time driving from practice to game. It’s a large undertaking, but we are parents, we want to see our children develop and grow. We especially want them to get their “wiggles out”. Sports is a great way to do just that. Building proprioception, endurance, team work and strength are key ways a sports can shape our little humans. However, sometimes the sidelines aren’t exactly the best example of these benefits.

Play it Cool

Often times, tempers run high on the sidelines. Parents might find it easier to wear their tempers on their sleeves rather than playing it cool in the sake of sportsmanship. Over-tired and over-caffeinated parents make for very disturbing adult behaviors when an unpopular call is made by a volunteer referee. Claws come out and venom is spewed toward the field. Sportsmanship takes a back seat to anger and outrage. Is this the change you wish to see in your kids? I sure hope not.

Take Stock of Your Current Physical Ability

The example of physical fitness is often not well-recognized in the sidelines either. When do we people outgrow movement? Is there a magical age at which the ability to move is no longer important? The answer is no. Take stock of your current physical ability, not whether or not you have a six-pack or bulging muscles, but look at you ability to jump into the very game you are watching. For many, that score isn’t very high. The baseline goal in our own physical fitness should always be the ability to interact with our kids throughout life. The ability to move and play with them. The ultimate goal, in my opinion, is to have the same ability to move with your grandkids as you have right now. Believe me it’s possible.

We never outgrow the importance of movement and we never outgrow an honest self-critique of our own attitude towards others in our world. We are human and destine to make mistakes; however, we are to be the ones to catch those mistakes, take responsibility for them and change our course of action.

Be the Change

It’s never enough to merely sit on the sidelines, we must enter that game. We can’t expect our kids to be honorable in their pursuits, ethical in their behaviors, and strong in their ability to drive their bodies if we ourselves do not hold those values. We must be the change we wish to see in our children. We can’t be anything less.

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