August 2, 2018
For those of you that know me well, you have probably heard me talk about my mom. Along with my wife, my mom (who passed away when I was only twelve-years-old) continues to be one of the most influential people in my life. She, like all moms, was the ultimate role model for me and my siblings. The foundation of who I am as a person was established by my mom in those early formative years of my life. Moms are the absolute greatest (no offense to dads), and every chance I get to learn from a mom, I take it. Keep reading to find out what a mom at the park just taught me.
I had a chance day off from work yesterday on a beautiful sunny day in St. Louis. The temperature was a moderate 75 degrees, so our family decided to visit nearby Longview Park to see the horses, ride bikes, and play on the playground. As we were transitioning from one activity to another, I overheard a young mom communicating with her eight-year-old son who was at the top of the jungle gym.
Here is how the conversation went down:
Son: “Mom, help me get down!” (somewhat frantically).
Mom: (calm and composed) “You can do it. Figure it out. You got up there, now figure out how to get down.”
Son: (No comment and without another word, he wrestled and wrangled his way down the jungle gym to safety).
I watched this short interchange unfold so brilliantly in front of my eyes as I rode off with my wife and three children down the bike trail. “Wow!” I internalized. “That was awesome!”
I continued to think about this special exchange between mother and son. This was a perfect example of the “teachable moments” that I highlight in my book, Character Loves Company – Defining the Teachable Moments in Sports: A Guidebook to Character Literacy Development.
In what many have labeled the “entitlement generation,” the “helicopter parent generation” or even worse, the “lawnmower parent generation” where parents or coaches are trying to get out front to do it all for their kids or players, let’s go against the grain. Let’s challenge our children in a loving and nurturing way to “figure it out” on their own.
Parent or Coach, next time you are tempted to step in and solve a problem that your daughter, son, or player can conquer on their own with a little grit and “want to,” remember the acronym FIO and empower them to Figure it Out on their own.