As parents, we can learn from Leicester
There is a slight chance that my children will be born into a world where Tottenham Hotspur could be Barclays Premier League champions.
For those of you who know either myself or the Premier League well enough, that is a ridiculous and absurd thought but the absurdity of it makes it no less real.
I mention Tottenham because I think they are, along with other teams in the Premier League like Leicester, a great parenting analogy for what can be accomplished with the right environment and encouragement for young people.
I've written before about how we can understand child development through the metaphor of a tree, but let's now discuss child development using football as a metaphor. Among the many small feats at these clubs this season is the relatively young age of the players on the team, many in the first three years playing at this level.
So many inexperienced players who regularly play, play exceptionally well when compared with their contemporaries around the league. How does this happen?
Well, just as it's important for players to feel encouraged and have a sense of belief in themselves, children thrive on encouragement in an environment where they build self-esteem without feeling overconfident.
Tottenham and Leicester's managers have created an environment in their teams where they have encouraged maximum effort and rewarded positive behaviour appropriately.
The major key, as with children, is having the process of personal and collective advancement itself become part of the goal, where improvement in your own qualities and your environment is sought in addition to seeing the results of those efforts.
Essentially what I'm referring to is engendering a lifelong habit of learning and high work ethic within children.
Through this process children can form the ability to cope with adversity, and also accept and acknowledge the true source of accomplishment and advancement, where hard work meets opportunity.
The better teams in the Premier League are well known for their tough preseason training schedule, and the work they put in nine months ago is coming to fruition. As with those preparations, I have learnt that putting in the hard work early with children pays dividends once they are older and are forming their own habits.
We need to encourage children in a way that avoids giving rise to an inflated sense of their abilities and an attitude of entitlement. When a posture of learning, proper work ethic and humble attitude is not developed, achievement is taken for granted, rather than something to be continually worked towards.
So I hope that in the years to come I would have laid the groundwork early for my little ones to assume this posture of learning, not only to improve their own character, but also to help their attitude towards adversity and achievement.
Because even our greatest challenges hold within them the keys to overcome them, we just have to have the right attitude and belief in order tackle them.
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