I can say without any hesitation that my daughter’s successful climb towards her chosen career was in part a direct result of the lessons learned through participating in sport at an advanced level. Most parents see sport as another activity that encourages social interaction and physical exercise and as such parents place more or most emphasis on academic results above all else! However one cannot forsake the role of the arts and sports as a critical development tool. Success is a very big word and it is commonly preceded by failure and lots of it! If you want your children to be successful at anything then you need to understand the process towards becoming successful.
To want success means exposing your children to all the variables that exist through participation and exposure good and bad. As we go through life our mind is shaped by the environment in which we co-exist. Exposure to events are critical and teaching children to be resilient and to think critically, not to believe in anything unless it is backed up by truthful evidence, be it scientific or spiritual. Having a serious attitude towards activities such as football will help your children to learn about how to attain goals and dreams. My daughter, for example, did not originally dream of becoming a professional musician. With each activity both of my children took on we encouraged our kids to be the best they could be, to compete and work hard to excel in whatever they were doing. If it was dance then we researched dance teachers/mentors and tried to expose them to the best available and as is the case both of my girls loved their football, once again we tried to expose them to a higher level and through exposure they were taught that ambition is good, it’s not easy but its good. Ambition via environment taught them to be competitive and that to be competitive one must put in the time and effort to excel.
As a parent of children with ambition, one must understand the process and the process/strategy starts with goals. Most kids rarely know what their long-term goals are, generally, they tend to find their genius somewhere along the line. The more exposure you give them through a range of activities and experiences the greater chance they have of finding what it is that they love to do. My kids were always singing, there has always been music in my house that of course helped shape their interest in music along with plenty of media such as movies and music videos. There were nights where we had dance parties the four of us would crank up the sound and shake the booty all night long.
When my kids reached pre-teen age they attended recordings of Australian Idol. They attended a couple of times and at one stage during a break I believe they asked the audience members to volunteer to come onstage and sing in a mock-up of the show. My daughter put her hand up and volunteered. It takes some guts as a young girl to stand up and put yourself in front of all those people and sing impromptu. Here’s the thing though by that stage my kids had already begun performing at school. It was in year seven when Jess first performed in front of a large audience. She was three weeks into her new school, Normanhurst Loretto when she decided to sing a song for her grandmother during Loreto’s grandparents day. New to the school she climbed onto the stage and with the help of a pianist student she sang her heart out to roughly 1000 school kids, teachers, parents and grandparents to a standing ovation. My other daughter arrived later but it wasn’t long before she too began singing in front of crowds at school. We exposed our kids to everything sometimes without their consent only for them to realise that hey this isn’t so bad or scary, there’s nothing to fear! There isn’t a place in Sydney that my kids haven’t been or seen, we’ve travelled all over whenever we could, all for the purpose of exposing our children to all walks of life, this includes trips overseas, football helped in that sense, exposure to different customs and people and in doing so making them understand that whilst we are different, inside we are all the same. That skin colour or cultural background is not a reason to judge or label. Children learn from our environment and exposure for me is critical to understanding how life works.
So what exactly is the process, I don’t believe it is an exact science a lot of it is trial and error but if I were to try to explain it I believe this is a good starting point.
The process –
Start by setting goals
These could categorise in the following order:
PERSONAL – CAREER – FINANCIAL – EDUCATION – HEALTH
Creating an intelligent child requires KNOWLEDGE acquisition, DESIRE to reach goals and improvement of Skill. Knowledge is attained via the four Intelligences:
Emotional, Spiritual, Physical and Mental intelligence.
These are Are an example of events/actions/criteria that everyone must experience in order to grow to their full potential:
RESEARCH – LEARNING – READING – STUDY – SIMULATION – WATCHING – OBSERVING – BEING PROACTIVE – EDUCATION – PAIN – RISK – DISAPPOINTMENT – HARD WORK – KNOWLEDGE – FAILURE – DISCIPLINE – STRUCTURE – SORROW – WISDOM – LONELINESS – LISTENING – FEAR – SACRIFICE
The process simply put is what you will need to experience in order to arrive at your destination. It is not the successful outcome, but what you become via the process that leads to ongoing success, by living the process you grow and learn. Shielding, avoiding wrapping your kids in bubble wrap, in other words over protectiveness hinders ones emotional intelligence. Participation helps to contribute to your physical intelligence. Adversity helps you gain mental intelligence and exposure to a range of different activities and experiences helps with spiritual intelligence, things such as acceptance, love, empathy, tolerance. Remember that it is the journey that will fill you with the knowledge you need to be successful, everyone must pay the price. A key characteristic for success is work ethic or grit, not an absence of but an ability to deal with fear head on, this is a learned habit, seeing things through and focusing on a task by sacrifices certain luxuries.
Therefore one must take into serious consideration that having an ambitious attitude towards arts and sports should be considered as an essential element of character development. Attitude being the keyword, this is because as with most social activities, it does not automatically come with a success mentality, it is what it is a social activity, there’s nothing wrong with that and sports may not be something your child aspires to do, but it is exposure to other ambitious children mentors and a higher level of competition and performance that lights the spark within, that lift off moment that will shape the actions and attitudes towards successful outcomes in life.