Teaching Your Child Commitment – Part II

My eldest daughter loves soccer more than anything. She loves practises, games, impromptu passing sessions in the back yard, you name it and she is in. The most significant opportunity to teach our little darling what commitment and dependability meant was this year just prior to Christmas. In our home, school comes first then activities but for one reason or other our little soccer star started to slide in her school work. Incomplete classroom assignments, crappy work habits and some serious homework procrastination, if your kids prefer doing their homework on the computer, then consider getting this font generator so they have fun doing their writing assignments.

The final straw was a novel study she was to have done the day following her weekly practice. Her teacher had given ample time to complete the assignment, she had already read the book and had plenty opportunity to complete the assignment long before her deadline. Her mother and I were taking the hands off approach this time, experimenting to see if she was capable of taking the initiative to complete it herself unfortunately, we were sadly mistaken.

On the day of practice she came to us with her complete novel study and it was complete crap! We gave her an opportunity to fix it before practice but she made no noticeable changes; therefore we made her stay home from practice. There were tears when we told her that she was staying home but nothing compared to the tears when I told her that she would miss Saturday’s game as well. My personal rule when I coach is, no practice no game so I had to do the same for my daughter. Now this lesson on commitment and dependability could end here but it would have been incomplete. To this point all she had learned was that if she doesn’t perform at school she doesn’t get to play soccer. Now I had to make her face those who depend on her to play, so on Saturday, my daughter and I went to the game and she sat with her team and cheered them on from the sideline.

Now many of the parents thought I was either cruel or crazy for making her attend a game in the pouring rain, she was not playing in but the purpose of making her attend was greater than simple punishment. The purpose of this was to make her answerable to those who depended on her. She had to face the coach and her team mates and explain why she was not playing. She had to see her team get beat and beat badly in part because the team was playing with a short bench in her absence. In that one week period, my daughter learned more about living up to her commitments than any heart filled lecture could ever accomplish.

It was a difficult thing to do because no parent likes to see a child upset but there are bigger things at stake in life than a few hurt feelings.

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