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Win & Your Kids Will Too
Last week my daughter, wife, and I all took to the arena of life in our individual battles to become better selves.
I spoke a the first Mission of Excellence Summit in Charlotte, NC (content dropping once edits are done).
My wife coaches my daughter’s Competetive Cheerleading team, and we went to Raleigh for them to compete against teams from NC, VA, SC, and GA.
My daughter took the mat and did her job; she showed up ready to crush it in front of hundreds.
I delivered my message, and the men in attendance showed immediate growth, going off the Q&A and the after-party at the Cigar Lounge, where we could all sit and get to know one another better.
My wife, daughter, and their team took 1st place (again), which is back-to-back Hit Zeros and back-to-back first place spots.
Needless to say, it was a week of winning in the Small household, and I want to tell you how we were able to foster an environment where everyone is working together and winning in our individual ways.
Children follow your example, not your advice.
If you are a parent looking to raise children who go into the world and share themselves instead of living with insecurity and fear of judgment, you, too, must do the same.
These kids will follow the example you set, and that example is one where your time and energy are spent doing things that, to you, are a priority.
If the aim is to foster a home environment where one goes into the world and shares a message, then somewhere, you and your spouse, whomever the adults are in that child’s life, have to go out and share their message. If you’re the type of man too insecure to tell the waitress when she brings you the wrong meal, why do you expect your child to speak up for themselves?
If you live in a home where corporal punishment is given for failure, how can you ever expect your children to take risks? They don’t want to get hurt for failing, so why try?
In the age where you can know anything from Google, you can’t learn to live a free life - you must develop that freedom through action. No lesson will have your child believing in themselves as much as a present and supportive parent can. So, by my wife and I pushing ourselves forward in life and continuing to chase goals, parent peacefully, and be open and honest with our children about our lives, we are showing them how to live a life like that and that as an adult, they will be expected to continue to push forward and do the same.
When you instill this type of message early, the development of the craft happens younger. Thus, the performance improves, setting your children up for a greater trajectory of freedom-focused living than yourself. This is how we win the culture war, but on a smaller scale, this is how we, as mothers and fathers, can raise children who are confident, competent, and capable of going out and seizing the opportunities presented in school, sports, and life.
Don’t Raise Trophy Kids; Raise Kids Who Win Trophies
I’ve shared photos of my son and daughter winning different awards and trophies for their academic and sports success but never has it been done as any flex to how fucking awesome I am as a father.
I am an awesome dad, but that’s from work I’ve done; the kids winning in school or on their field of play is 100% their efforts, of which I have nothing to do with aside from coaching, driving to practice/games, buying equipment, and being a present force of support, reminding them of our standards, and helping them understand their body and the importance of training and nutrition.
I offer guidance; they are the ones who choose to go forward (or not) in the training and pursuit of being their best at that thing.
I don’t care what my kids do, and because of that, they’ve found their way to things they both love to do. My son is all baseball, my daughter all Cheer, and in their choice to pursue these areas, my wife and I have supported and are skilled enough to step in and coach with me coaching my son and my wife coaching my daughter. Even the decision of us coaching was placed in our children’s hands because we don’t want to take anything from them, only add, and thus, we ask them, “Do you want me to volunteer for this?” every time they say yes, so we continue to do so. The result has been the winning of hardware to put on the shelf and the experiences, time together, and memories made not in the stands but right on the sidelines during their biggest moments of competition.
Both Jackie and I have witnessed firsthand what happens when parents live vicariously through their children:
The kid hates the sports
The kids loved the sport, but the parent killed that love.
The kid doesn't have any fun and goes out to make their parents happy.
Parents lose their composure and turn into the biggest fucking assholes.
Again, Jackie and I are losing time and money to support our children’s competitive desires. To us, it is money well spent, but we have our own goals, challenges, and life obstacles, so there’s no way in hell we’re even capable of making our kids the focus of “life satisfaction”. We have plenty to do in our lives, and that’s how it will always be.
When we win, we share that with the kids; when we lose, we share that as well. Through the embodiment of the message and not just through us espousing it, this teaches them how they are expected to carry themselves in both victory and defeat. It also prevents them from thinking their parents were perfect because they know our track record is not “Undefeated”. It’s here that we hope they never grow up thinking they need to be “perfect like their parents”, but instead, they need to be resilient and dedicated, never giving up on themselves, “just like their parents”.
This week we were winners; a month ago, that wasn’t the case; we’ll soak in this glory while being ready to face the next challenge which comes our way, giving our all to being our best, knowing that if we leave it all out there, we can walk away with our head held high. If that isn’t a life lesson you want your child to learn, I don’t know what to tell you.
- Zachary Small
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