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Forefront families by Sally Burgess;Be the Parents Behind the Success; www.forefrontfamilies.org

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If you were like me, you would have been riveted to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. What a spectacle of beauty it was! From the opening and closing ceremonies to the beautiful scenery, from the stellar performances of all those athletes to the screaming support of friends, family and countrymen, it was truly amazing.

Can you imagine how many years those young people have practiced to get to such a point of excellence? Parents have sacrificed time and money to allow their children to fulfill their dreams. They have praised their kids’ successes and picked them up and dusted them off in their defeats. It really does wonders for the soul to see such dedication from both the athletes and their families, to get them to the place where we see them competing for Olympic medals.

Almost all kids dream of winning, of being the best in their field, of being praised by friends and family and of being popular with their peers. Yet for many, this hope to excel dies along the way. For some, the dream never becomes airborne because they have never had the confidence, encouragement or opportunity to give it a try. Maybe they failed the first time and were not given the support to get up and give it another go. It could be that the parental bar was set so high that their child could not meet parent expectations. They may have been told that if they didn’t win, or be placed second or third they had failed.

Sometimes parents try to live out their unfulfilled dreams through their kids by trying to make them play a sport, play an instrument, or reach some intellectual level that their child is literally incapable of achieving, and NEITHER WERE THEY! Sure, we teach our kids they can ‘do anything they put their minds to’, but the fact is, that with the best will in the world, some activities do not suit the mindset or body build of every person.

Sometimes our exuberance becomes destructive. Have you seen, or have you been one of those parents who run up and down the sideline yelling disparaging remarks at their child, the referee or other team members?

Here are some sage words spoken by Lipscomb University TN Athletic Director, Philip Hutcheson on guidelines for parents who watch their kids play sport. (Posted on 2/21/14 in an elementary school's note to parents).

1. At any sporting event there are 4 roles: a fan, a player, a coach or an official.

   You can ONLY BE ONE.

2. The most dreaded part of a team's loss for your child is the ride home.

3. Never give your child pointers immediately following the game.

4. Don't tell you child they played well if they didn't. They know you are not being

5. 75% of children playing sport quit by the time they are 13 years' old because

   it's no longer fun.

6. The most important six words you can say to your child…win or lose is…

                           "I LOVE TO WATCH YOU PLAY!"

We have seen from the Olympic Games the joy on parents’ faces as their kids competed. Those parents were behind their kids whatever the outcome. That is what makes kids want to try, to reach limits beyond their wildest dreams no matter what their field of interest is. Perhaps now is the time, right after the Games, to sit down with your children and ask them what their big dreams are. Get them to write them down and set some simple goals towards improving their skills. Do you have unfulfilled dreams? Why not write down your own goals and make steps to achieve them. Just because we are parents, it does not mean we stop improving our own abilities or fulfilling long lost ambitions. Do it together as a family. Go for it together!

If you have any comments or questions on this subject, please do not hesitate to contact us at sally@forefrontfamilies.org and check out our blogsite at www.forefrontfamilies.blogspot.com and our website at www.forefrontfamilies.org

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