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enCOURAGEment

I’ve had the chance to talk to a lot of parents about being a parent. There is great joy in being a parent but, there is also a ridiculous amount of thankless work that goes into providing your children a proper upbringing. I often hear parents explain to me that their philosophy on parenting is to give their kids a better childhood than they had. What does this mean?! I know what it looks like to me sometimes. For a lot of parents, it means that I’m going to work tail off or going in to debt to have more money so “Johnny” or “Suzy” can grow up in a bigger house, be driven to school in a nicer car, wear the trendy clothes and play on the right sports teams. Basically, they don’t want to tell their kids…NO. Why not? What’s a world without boundaries or consequences? I’ll tell you… a world of entitlement and a lack of work ethic.

One of my proudest parenting moments came when I was coaching a 10U softball team with my oldest daughter on the team. She was our ace pitcher. Not because she was my offspring but because she wanted it the most and worked hard to become the best pitcher on the team. Ok, you got me, maybe she had a smidge more talent, at least in my eyes. Anyways, about half way through the season she’s pitching in a game and the umpire’s zone was the size of a mail slot. I could see my daughter’s frustration starting to mount. I took a visit to the mound to calm her down, tell her how proud I was of her and to ignore the umpire. Before I could get the whole sentence out of my mouth, she says to me and the catcher, “I need to throw better pitches.” I was stunned and almost wept immediately at her decision to be accountable for the outcome of her performance.

I’d like to take full credit for her response but I can’t. Yes, I try to be the best example I can, take pride in how hard I worked on the field and at home but I’m not raising them by myself. My wife is a huge influence. Both of our grandparents are involved, our siblings, Aunts/Uncles and our choice of friends are involved. Our idea of raising children is to give them mentality and spirit to be ready to face challenges, overcome them and take advantage of opportunities that they will surely incur during their lives.

Giving our kids more doesn’t mean that we are creating a better life or life skills. I learned so much by being told no or not being given everything when I asked. I am not afraid to ask questions, start a blog, do a podcast, speak to large groups of people or just be me because I am not afraid.

“Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.”   -Babe Ruth

Yes, this is a baseball quote from one of the greatest baseball players of all time but it speaks to everyone. Striking out has always been seen as negative or a setback. It’s what that strikeout encourages you to do afterwards that defines whether that strikeout was worth it. Much like baseball, life is a game of adjustments. My wife and I are continually making adjustments in our own life, our life together and to our family. Our kids are witnesses to our success’ and our failure’s. We think it’s healthy for our kids to take us off the pedestal every now and then to understand we’re human and can be a hot mess at times.

Just because we are adults doesn’t mean we have the answers, nor does it mean we should act like we have the answers. Kids aren’t idiots, they see and understand more than we give them credit for. Kids need to know that life throws us a lot of junk. We, as parents, need to make sure they’re ready to take a good swing at it without fearing a possible strikeout.

 

Why would anyone want to take away what could be the motivating factor for greatness?

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