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How to Raise a Citizen Kid: Inspiring Young Athletes

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There is no feeling in the world quite like scoring your first goal, making that first basket, or scoring the game-winning touchdown. It’s like reality has slowed down in order for you to remember that moment forever — a smile plastered on your face, and the cheers of the crowd ringing in your ears.

What parent wouldn’t want their child to experience this feeling? But aside from the triumphs that come from involving your kid in athletics, sports offer so much more than just brief moments of victory. Athletics have the ability to teach lessons that Citizen Kids can carry into all aspects of their lives.

In the same way we talked about fostering an entrepreneurial spirit, we’ve put together four quotes that highlight the values we want our children to aspire to embody — both on and off the field.

“We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.” –  Jesse Owens, Olympic gold medalist, track and field 

Every athlete wants to win, but it’s having the will to work hard for your dreams that truly makes a champion. You can help instill a strong work ethic in your children by making time for practice, while also letting them take the reins in regards to achieving their goals. Giving your kids right building blocks and then letting them control how they utilize those tools will help them develop the motivation and determination to succeed. By encouraging them to be self-starters, they’ll learn that there will always be people there to help, but it’s ultimately up to them to put in the time and effort if they want to break that record or make the varsity squad.

“It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up.” – Vince Lombardi, NFL Hall of Fame coach of the Green Bay Packers

You can’t win them all, as even the most prestigious and celebrated athletes know. It can be hard for kids, especially young ones, to lose gracefully (there are usually tears). It’s our job as parents to help them understand that it’s the people who get back up after a defeat that eventually become champions. Let your child know that it’s OK to lose, as long as they always get back up. You can teach them that it takes real courage to try, try, and try again.

“One man practicing sportsmanship is far better than 50 preaching it.” – Knute Rockne, University of Notre Dame player and coach

Sportsmanship doesn’t just mean shaking hands at the end of the game, it means learning the true value of teamwork and fair play — for both your team and your opponents. Sportsmanship teaches kids that it’s more important to work together and support your team, than to pursue individual glory at the cost of the group. The best way you can demonstrate this is by showing sportsmanship yourself! Model an example of fair play and treat the other parents and coaches with respect. Your little athlete will quickly follow suit.

“You have to believe in yourself when no one else does — that makes you a winner right there.” – Venus Williams, tennis player

As parents, we already know how wonderful our kids are, but it’s up to us to instill that confidence in them as well. It’s one trait that every athlete shares – the confidence to score that goal, catch that touchdown pass, and make that last-second basket.

When we teach our kids to believe in themselves on the field, we’re also paving the way for success in other walks of life. That confidence will help them land dream jobs, excel in school, form life-long relationships, and in turn, raise confident kids of their own.

 

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