Today Was Not Our Day - Raising a Confident Child

empowerment mindset family enrichment Oct 12, 2023

My journey as a soccer dad started thirty plus years ago when our oldest child, Jake,  started to play at 5 years old.   Over the next 20 years my wife and I spent countless hours at soccer fields all over the country.  Then seemingly all at once we were out of the soccer scene.   None of our children were playing anymore.  They were young adults now.    Working  at  “real” jobs, getting married and starting their own families.   To be honest I missed it.   The sound of a soccer complex with multiple games going on.  The anticipation before a game and of course the joy that came from watching my children play.


Here is the good news.  I am back.  But not as a soccer dad.  This time as a soccer grandparent.  


Last week we were at one of our grandson’s games and I was reminded of one of the  tremendous benefits of playing soccer or any other sport.   You see, it is not just about the physical activity or scoring goals.   These activities provide awesome opportunities for our children to develop resiliency and build confidence.  Here is what happened. 


Through the first 4 games of the season my grandson Jack’s team had always been the better team.  Goals came easy and there were fist bumps for everyone.  Last Saturday was a different story.  This week the other team was the better team.  Goals didn’t come as easy … In fact, they did not come at all.   For context, I should note that Jack is six years old.  Well, about midway through the game Jack’s frustration got the better of him.  He started crying and ran over to his mother (my daughter) for comfort.   This is a tough spot for a parent.  I am sure some of you have been there.   What do you say?  What do you do?    Fortunately, mom was able to provide a combination of compassion and encouragement.  In just a few minutes, Jack was able to regain his composure and quickly returned to the game.   


As I was observing this situation play out, I couldn’t help but to smile.  This was a building block moment for my grandson.  He was developing resiliency.  The ability to face a tough situation and know that he was going to be okay.   With this his confidence will grow as well because resiliency is foundational to confidence. 


I know that it is hard to watch our child suffer or be in pain but this story reminds us that a little struggle can be a good thing.  It provides the opportunity to develop resiliency which in turn builds confidence.  In fact, I believe these challenges can be the best teachers so we should see them as gifts.    Here is my recommendation.   To help your child get the most value out of a difficult situation like this one, engage with a combination of compassion, encouragement and unconditional love.  This is a killer combination.


Your family enrichment coach,


Jim White






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