What It Means To Be A Parent

Special guest blogger Bob Henderson drops a dime on what it truly means to be a sporting parent. For me personally this is a special post. From the beginning the aim was to create a group of likeminded parents on a similar journey sharing triumphs and tribulations along the way. No one journey the same, but together sharing a common goal- your child's sporting interest's at heart!

Bob has been a passionate follower of The Sporting Parent from day one. Frequently contributing to our posts by commenting and sharing his own personal experiences. Which is why when he reached out to share his journey I jumped at it.

As sporting parent's the journey is only part of it. Having wisdom passed down from other parents who have been there is invaluable. So please take note and share among our community.

Bob Henderson

We have been married for over 30 years and together longer than that. Our legacy in life will be our two sons who are now adults in their own right aged 24 and 27.

The boys have survived the journey of life thus far in their own particular way and are now independently successful. A huge part of their upbringing was sport, in particular team sport where we tried many different activities including rugby league and union, soccer, cricket, athletics, basketball and martial arts. I think its important to have a good balance across a wide range during the younger years.

My background is in planned and structured environments, so I like to see those plans and strategies come to fruition. This applies in the sporting environment where true sporting success comes from

commitment to systems and processes. If you get those right the results on the field take care of themselves.

I maintain the view that we are all reflections of our upbringing and indeed our own parents. In retrospect with that being the case I wish I had been exposed to a broader cross section of sports and other leisure activities.

My era was cricket in the summer and footy in the winter, with little or no experience into other perhaps non main- stream sports or indeed theatre, the arts and music for example.

I believe that this would have enhanced my overall skill set in my particular sport. Whilst I was able to be relatively successful in the junior and youth brackets, I was unable to make the leap to elite level and therefore elected to withdraw from that environment.

Should I have had other options to fall back on, a plan B, maybe I would have been able to move on and continue longer.

We have raised our boys with a real focus on balance in life. This has been a real success in our sporting journey. Team sports in particular assist with building relationships and create an ability to manage difficult or challenging situations within the team.

In sport emotions can run high. Another part of success we found was understanding this. Providing support around managing the high emotions of winning along with the low periods of defeat and disappointment both individually and collectively.

One of our biggest frustrations were other parents living their own sporting lives through their kids. They are kids learning not just on-field skills but life skills overall. If they don’t have sound role models on the sideline then they will not develop into respectful, understanding adults.

In finishing there are many things that we could all do better as parents. One thing that stands out more than others are your people skills. To be able to reward or acknowledge success appropriately is no more important than the ability to manage defeat or periods of disappointment. Be a role model!

Some great insights from Bob into a parents journey that have transpired into their (his/wife) children's success in their own right. At the end of the day the above mentioned skills and values are transferrable throughout all facets of life. If that's not winning as a sporting parent I don't know what is?!

A big thanks to Bob for sharing his journey as a sporting parent. I'm sure many of you can relate. I'd love to hear your thoughts. Please comment and share if you too have any experiences similar to these.

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