Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourself.
I’m a big promoter of children participating in sport activities as there are so many benefits for them. And, I’m a mother of an athlete: my oldest son played many different sports, including basketball on his high school team and on a Division 1 college team. Sports, of course, are competitive and typically there will be a winning team and a losing team. How your children respond is important – whether they are part of the winners or losers.
Children’s attitudes toward sports and winning come, in most part, from their parents. When you are watching a game on television, what do you say about the competing teams and their players? When you watch your children play a sport, what do you say about the same things? As a mother who attended her son’s games, I can attest to the fact that many parents are at the sidelines saying encouraging words to their children and fellow team members but others make very derogatory statements. Some verbally attack the referees, calling them all sorts of names, while some criticize the opposing team’s members as well as their parents. I live in a small community so allegations can run rampant of referees being biased because they have favorite players or teams.
Be mindful of what you say to your children about their performances and what happened during a game. Encourage them to analyze what they did to play well and how they can improve their skills. Discuss how their team can do better as well as what the opposing team did well and vice versa. Be respectful to them, their teammates, opposing team members, coaches, and referees. If coaches do not have team members shake the opposing team members’ hands after a game, have your children do that. It represents respect for the sport as well as the persons who played.
There has been a recent trend to have all children participating in a sports competition be designated as “winners”. I understand the reasoning behind this, but do not believe that it teaches children about reality. In life, there will always be winners and losers. How your children react when being in each group is an important part of their development.
Good sportsmanship must be valued and taught.It is an integral part of being a godly, respectful person.