May 092014 4 Responses

Your Child Isn’t That Good

“Parents are horrible judges of their children’s talent.”

Those were the words of Rick Jones, a Hall of Fame High School football coach who joined me last week in a discussion on Parenting, Sports, and the Gospel. In his thirty years of experience, he has seen this truth played out in a variety of situations. Many a mom or dad have sat in Coach Jones office explaining how the coach is not giving their child the proper amount of playing time or playing the child in the proper position.

Despite the good intentions of parents, they are poor evaluators of talent, especially the talent of their children.

Jones said, “They are horrible.” (See: Parenting–Too Involved, Not Involved Enough)

I would add, “…and you aren’t the exception.”

You believe your child is better than they actually are at whatever sport or activity they are attempting.

You agree that parents are horrible at fairly evaluating their children, but you think you are the exception. You aren’t.

Parents are bad evaluators of their children for several reasons:

We often try to live out our dreams through them.

We allow their success or failure to define who we are.

But the main reason is love.

Love prevents parents from seeing their children in an objective manner. For the same reason surgeons shouldn’t operate on their own children, parents shouldn’t attempt to evaluate their child’s athletic prowess. (See: Sometimes You Can Only Wear One Hat)

We can’t see them properly. And nearly without exception, we overestimate their ability.

This has little negative influence until we act based on our opinions. When we go to the coach’s office or bad mouth a coach’s decision or lead our children to believe they are not getting what they deserve, our biases negatively impact our children.

Suddenly our inability to evaluate can have disastrous consequences for our child. We can embarrass them, create a tense relationship between them and coaches, and discourage them from playing.

So what is a parent to do?

The only option is for a parent to recognize their inability and to realize they are not the exception. As difficult as it is, this is the only solution.

I will not be able to fairly evaluate my children’s ability—ever. (See: Cheerleader Tryouts–When Dreams Don’t Come True)

Because of this, I need help.

If I’m in a position where I am coaching them, I need help to be fair to them and their teammates. Someone needs to have my ear regarding my child and be able to tell me if I’m being too hard on them or if I am overestimating their ability.

If I’m a fan, I need to be a fan—cheer them on, love them, support them, but do everything in my power to support the person coaching them.

One of the most important things we can do for ourselves and others is to recognize what we can do and what we can’t do. By recognizing our inability to evaluate our children, we free ourselves to simply cheer for them and love them. We can admit that we are horrible looking at them fairly and we can boast in our ability to be crazy fans.

Isn’t this what our children need more than anything? They don’t need us to evaluate them properly. They need us to embarrass them as we lavish love upon them.

Coaches can critique. Others can evaluate. All I can do is love.

4 Responses to Your Child Isn’t That Good
  1. Neal Beam Reply

    I agree and disagree with the statements made above…… I believe that God has instilled in parents the knowledge and know how on how and which way to push their kids, IF the parent will just listen to God. Do I think some parents get in the way— absolutely I also believe that some don’t. Tiger Woods for example…. It was his DAD that first noticed the talent he had, not a coach. I have also seen where coaches get in the way. They think there kid is the best player and for that reason the coaches kid is put in over the person that is actually better. Can my son sing?? NO!!! I Love this kid with all my heart, but as a parent I would not push this on him or anyone else for that matter. That is judging your kids talent. I also have a kid that is Awesome at sports! This has been known since he has been able to through the ball. And we have pushed him in that direction. Now he has 2 state championship rings one for basketball (starting forward) and one for football (quarterback). He also received state MVP in basketball. He also holds state in track and barely missed the state record in the 400. He also has state in baseball. Again, we have known this from the beginning and have pushed him. We noticed WAY before a coach ever did. That is also judging your kids talent. I do believe as parents we make mistakes in raising our kids, but I also believe that if we as parents would press into the things of God he will direct us on how what talents our children should be raised. I didn’t want to post about my other 3 kids, because then I would just be bragging! 🙂

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  4. Tanya Reply

    I think it’s a bit harsh. A lot of great information , by all means tolerating any kind of acts that are unkind are not tolerated period.
    However, I am certain that if you are not careful about your approach,your child will certainly never come to you with real problems! Self esteem issues will surely come to surface if a young confused boy trying to become a man, feels alone with no connection to open discussions without a loving family member or who can’t shut up long enough to listen to his topic! I am all about discipline when appropriate but until they betray your trust, they deserve the recognition they deserve.

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