Commitment & The Kid – Part 3

Well it is happening, my eldest daughter is turning into a teenager. She is on the back end of twelveteen and already she is thoroughly entrenched in the wing-nut behaviour that marks the early adolescent years. Although I have been working with teens for going on twenty years, I am not sure there is anything that can prepare you for when you own child goes off the deep end.

Actually, I am being a bit unkind. She is still a great kid but holy smokes there are days when the word “wacko” is the only word that can describe her. There are other days however, when she amazes me with her ability to go above and beyond the call of duty, without any sign of that crazy pre teen smouldering within.

The other weekend was one of those times when she stacked together just over 72 hrs of astonishing focus, determination and commitment to what she had to do. Based on what I had been witnessing, I couldn’t help but wonder how she managed to do everything she did, without so much as a peep of discontent, distraction or adolescent driven mania.

I personally thought it was quite incredible and worthy of note and therefore the subject of this blog post was born.

Before I go any further let me outline what her wild weekend looked like so you can appreciate what she accomplished.


    • Regular School Day
    • 2 hrs of homework after school
    • Early to bed in preparation of a soccer tournament on Friday.


    • Up earlier then she is for a regular school day
    • On the soccer pitch for 7:45 for warm up
    • Played 4 soccer games between 8:30 am to 4:00pm
    • Home for 5 pm, ate dinner, cleaned up and completed math homework


    • Up at 8:30
    • Refereeing soccer at 9:30 am
    • Home cleaned up and off to a friends house to work on project
    • 5 hrs of project work for school
    • Picked her up from friends house and off to fundraiser
    • Attended a fundraising event in the evening from 6 – 9pm


    • Up at 7:45 am, on the soccer pitch for for 8:45 for warm up.
    • Regular Soccer Game start at 9:30am and she played entire game.
    • Got called up to play for a gold select team that was in injury trouble
    • Second Soccer started at 2:30 pm again on the field from beginning to end
    • Home to get cleaned up and have a bite to eat.
    • Off to do 5 more hours of project work home by 10pm


    • Into school early to finish up some loose ends for project.

After watching this all unfold, I started to realize a couple things abut my emerging teen.

  • Yes she can be wingy at times BUT she has some amazing focus and sticktoitiveness within.
  • Her ability to amaze us with her achievement, could not be accomplished without having a parents that facilitate it.

In two previous posts, I spoke of “teaching kids” about commitment but it became crystal clear to me on that crazy weekend that parents don’t teach kids about commitment so much as they create a world that enables their children to be committed to what they have to do. Commitment isn’t just a simple act of intent, it is a lifestyle.

What this looks like is different for every family but here are 6 simple lifestyle choices our family live by, which makes it possible for our children to pull off the amazing things they do.

  • Standard set of expectations for school, family and friends.
  • Create a daily routine which everyone in the family can live within.
  • Outright refuse to allow activities such as hanging out at the mall
  • Restrict access to time sucking activities such as gaming or television.
  • Encourage participation in organized sport but no more than one per season.
  • Once committed to an activity, there is no quitting before the scheduled end of the season.

This is by no means a perfect six point plan to raising the perfect child. I am sure my wife and I are currently screwing something up so badly that both daughters will require years of intensive therapy to recover but hey, no one is perfect. What I do know, is that each and every exceptional child I have ever encountered in my 18 years of teaching, had a lifestyle which enabled them to be successful. More often than not there are parents in the background orchestrating it all but I have even come across some phenomenal kids who had to do it all themselves.

As for my own children, who knows what’s to come. I fully expect that there will be some rough patches between now and when I throw them out on their ear to fend for themselves. What I do know is that commitment isn’t something I can teach them,it is a lifestyle I can provide for them.

Raise your child with a lifestyle that promotes personal commitment, chances are you will get yourself a pretty cool adult by the time the smoke clears.

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