I was at a child’s soccer game recently and was mortified by the behavior of some of the adults in the stands. Is it too much to ask for parents to behave more maturely than the kids?
Silent Objector – Clinton, OK
Such non-sportsman-like behavior was present, on a much larger scale, as far back as the ancient blood bath competitions performed in the Roman Coliseum. Lines were drawn, sides were chosen, and the battle raged. Man seems to have an innate desire to war and fight. In the days of old, this trait served him well. Territory was conquered, kingdoms overthrown, and governments established. However, now that we are no longer a race of people in the midst of a territorial war over the planet, where do we channel this aggression? Little league sports seems to the venue of choice. The incredible paradox is that we as parents behave like children, and then expect our children to act in a more mature fashion. One mother may yell, “Stick it to ‘em, Jack!” after her son was fouled in a game, but at home when the same boy seeks revenge against a sibling, she harshly disciplines him. A father may scream, “Oh come on, Jill!” when his daughter misses a goal, and then later doesn’t understand why his little girl has no self-confidence. Perhaps a dad shouts, “What kind of call is that, Ref?” and then can’t comprehend why his son appears to have no respect for authority. I know these examples hit home. They do for me as well, but a bad parent is one that thinks he or she does it right all of the time. A good parent is their own worst critic. They have the wisdom to look inwardly and the courage to make the appropriate corrections in their own behavior as needed.
When the competition gets heated, the referee is being unfair, or the other team is cheating, it’s hard to let those things slip by unchallenged. We have always got to remember that our little ones are looking at us as examples on how to handle life and all of its challenges. A screaming fit may get you a win now and then on the court or the field, but there will be times in life when such behavior will get you thrown out of the game, job, or relationship. We are human and history proves that fighting against wrongdoing and striving for the win is in our nature, but to help our children win the game and then fail at life doesn’t quite balance out. Self-control is one of the most difficult character attributes to maintain. It is a battle that rages constantly on the plains of our own hearts and minds. Our human desires and passions can be formidable adversaries, but the man who conquers these, has conquered indeed. “Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.” – Solomon, Proverbs