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. […] Coaches do this. They react, not to help a player, but to publicly show their displeasure. A friend ...
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