Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Dear Soccer Parents:

Winning isn't everything, it isn't even the only thing.  Some of the greatest successes have come out of failures.  Just think if the guy who invented the glue for post-it notes gave up and trashed his forumla.  That glue was supposed to hold a car on a bridge with just a drop forever.  It was supposed to be the toughest glue in the world.  I think we can all say that post-it note glue is not the toughest glue in the world.  But, that mistake was still a win.  The very best baseball players in the world still strike out more times than they hit the ball.  Yet, these guys are still considered great successes.

My father used to say that there will always be someone smart, thinner or richer than you.  That it is important to determine your criteria for success and not compare yourself to someone else. It is this attitude that I want to empart to my children.  I want the to understand that failure is a part of life.  People that fear failure also fear taking a risk, because it might lead to failure.  I want my children to grow into adults that embrace failure as an opportunity to learn and improve.  To not shy away from risks just because they might fail.

When you get angry because your kids are loosing, you are creating a feeling within your kids that they have done something wrong.  That they have failed.  Are these kids failures?  I don't think so, I see these kids getting out there and trying the best that they can.  Is it their fault that the other teams are better?  It is our job as parents to take this opportunity to teach them how to manage disappointment, and to learn from the failure.  Pointing fingers and blaming each other, the coach or other players isn't really helpful. 

If you child doesn't want to play anymore just because we are loosing, then perhaps their first love really isn't soccer.  Maybe you should heed that complaint and let your child do something else next season.  This is a teachable moment about how they need to finish the season, because they signed up for it.  But, if they don't like it, then maybe it is time to try something else, once the season is over.

Sam, completely unprompted by me, said, that he doesn't care if they win or lose, it is an opportunity to learn something new and get better.  Sure he is disappointed when they lose, but is has only inspired him to work harder and hope for a better outcome next time.  He has adjusted his goals so that he can still be proud of their performance even if they aren't winning.  Last game, he got the ball away from a kid that was a full head taller than he was.  He didn't care, he got in there and got the ball.  We celebrated that, it was a great move.

It isn't about who wins, it is about how you handle the situation when you don't win.  This is a great opportunity for us as parents to teach our kids how to handle that disappointment.  Facts are that our kids will not win at everything they do.  The adults that are winners, know how to manage it when they fail.

At the end of the day, someone has to be the worst in the league.  It is unfortunate that this season it is us.  But, I challenge you to embrace the situation and give your children a chance to learn from it.  We can not protect them from failure, all we can do is teach them how to manage it.

Thank you for listening.


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