Raising Boys in a Sports World

In today’s world, where sports is so much a focal, I often find myself thinking about the perfect balance of raising two young boys in that world. What do I mean? I mean, how do we convey that we too love sports, but we don’t always love what it sells, and we don’t always love every player. I’m talking players who use drugs, players who physically beat their significant others, and players who play dirty. I want my boys to idolize the man behind the jersey for who is AND what he stands for, not just the athlete on the field.

I want to make it clear that my husband and I both grew up around sports. We both come from athletic families. We both played multiple sports at very competitive levels. And we were pretty good too. I firmly believe growing up in a competitive environment taught us both a lot about being good leaders, what team work looks like, and many moral and ethical dilemmas along the way. Not to mention, we were both so heavily involved in activities that we never had time for trouble. My point in all of this is, I’m a big advocate in being involved in any extracurricular activities of your choosing. We have no problem with sports. We love them.

But my whole point in this post is to get the dialogue started in that I want my boys to idolize men who value education, high morals, and whose actions who speak louder than words. I’m not saying there are not men out there in the NFL, MLB, NBA, etc. who do not possess some, all, or more of these characteristics, but I feel the overall majority of these players care about their paycheck and the material possessions the paycheck allows them to acquire. And that is not reality. Signing a four year contract for $87 million dollars is not reality. Having a net worth of $165 million dollars is not reality. Buying a Lamborghini, not a reality. Homes that boast over 16, 000 square feet is not reality. If that is your reality one day boys, I expect a room there!

So what is it I want the boys to value?

Firstly, I want them to value themselves. What do I mean? Find out what your strengths are. If you know anything about me, you will hear me say one thing, “call me slow, call me ugly, but don’t you dare call me stupid.” Why? Because I have always, always valued my intelligence above all else. You can fake being pretty (it takes some time and money), but you can’t fake being smart. Whatever the boys strengths may be, I hope they use them to their advantage. You’re good at math, choose a profession that uses math. You’re good with people, become a salesperson.

Secondly, be a good person when no one else is watching. See a dog on the road, be that person who stops to help it get home safely. Your friends mom is dying, please bring them dinner one night. Being a good person is priceless.

Never stop learning. I would love for them to go to college, I think it’s afforded both my husband and I with opportunities we wouldn’t have had. But if college isn’t for them, go to trade school, find an apprenticeship that makes you feel alive. And when you’ve found a job you think you love, keep learning. Utilize any benefits that may come your way to continue your education. I don’t care if you’re 70.

Be true. Be a faithful significant other. Be there always for your kids. If you find yourself single over the years, be the friend a friend would like to have.

Have a strong inner moral compass, because believe me, over the years you will need it. People will take any chance to cut you down, make you feel small, but don’t you ever stoop to their level. But don’t you let them win either, you kill them with kindness, intellect, but don’t you ever cheat.

I don’t have all the parenting answers, far from it, but I do know it’s a constant evolution, one we are constantly learning from. I’ll let you know in about fifty years how successful we were, or weren’t.

Right now, we are just happy one is no longer crying at preschool drop off!

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