Building character in a child

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Benjamin, Aug 13, 2008.

  1. Benjamin

    Benjamin
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    I am facing a challenge in fatherhood. Growing up I didn’t have a dad around for guidance and failed at many attempts early in life. Many times I’ve looked back and regretted having lost out due to a lack of confidence, character, and positive influences.

    Now, I have a son (14) who has just started as a freshman in high school (3,200 students.) He has gone out for football; he has had only a little prior experience in sports, a little baseball and tennis, and I started him weight training around five months ago after recognizing that I had dropped the ball and allowed him to lie around and get flabby and develop some self esteem issues. I especially feel bad about this because I am an experienced bodybuilder. I had held off in training him because of not wanting to start him too early, but it seems things sneak up quickly and I suddenly found my son suffering from lack of confidence in a physical sense.

    So on the physical part he’s made noticeable improvements but my problem is in helping him with his character. The football at this school is highly competitive; he knows very little about the game, and I have very little that I can teach him about it other than the need for heart and conditioning.

    He came home today first being really mad at his sister and mom, then began crying that he wanted to quit. He had tried to ask the coach what position he should play and was yelled at to get into the last row (the one where you are considered last string) and also given sponsor tickets to sell while being told if they didn’t sell at least 15 they would be pushing the “dreaded wood” (he doesn’t feel he will even be able to do it and will be humiliated) I’m sure this is normal discipline and common to tough coaching.

    I told him I didn’t want him to quit, that he needs to stick it out, and I have confidence in him that he will improve. I also told him about when I started wrestling that after losing my first three matches I tried to quit, but how I thank God that I had a coach who persuaded me not to and I ended up getting 2nd in state later that year. It was one of the best experiences in my life that I stuck it out.

    I need some help in how to explain to him that sticking it out is what builds character; even if he were to end up sitting on the bench I would be proud of him for hanging in there and giving it his best. Also any football training helps or suggestions about the mental aspects from experienced players would be appreciated, along with any prayers.


     
  2. Beth

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    Competing worldviews

    I'm afraid that you are dealing with two different worldviews....that of Christ and that of this coach.

    In my opinion, the character you want your son to develop is more of Christ in him. The new nature is one of love, esteeming others better than oneself....all the fruit of the Spirit...love, joy, meekness, gentleness, selfcontrol...etc. I think the question I would ask myself is if my son playing this sport under this particular coach is going to help him grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. Do you want your son to model this coach's carnal nature or to manifest Christlikeness?

    Your sis in Christ,
    Beth
     
  3. ReformedBaptist

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    Since the training of my children is still in their younger years, my experience is limited. But I think the main thing in their character training is seeking to ensure they know that you love them no matter what, win or fail. I encourage my children to be the best at everything they do.

    Sounds like your doing a good job with him.
     
  4. Deacon

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    Speaking from personal experence similar to what you offered (although decades removed) ...

    Now is the time to encourage, encourage, encourage,
    and when you tired of that... do it again anyway.

    Let him decide when to leave and try something else.
    I don't mean to to be mean but with a high school that big, the chances for an inexperenced player to break in is rather slim.

    Have him try other sports, find alternative individual sports,
    track and field, archery (hunting), karate, etc.
    anything that offers physical activity will aid in distracting him from the growing sexuality that pervades youth of every generation.

    Rob
     
  5. superwoman8977

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    I guess I just dont understand why we push our kids into sports. Or for the most part why we push our kids into anything. My boys are 10 and 5 and I allow them to pick what activities they want to be in, but I am sorry I would allow the child to quit if I was treated like that. Thats why I love the bowling team my boys are on. My 10 yr old is on the seniors and my 5 yr old on the juniors and there is no riding the wood or anything like that. There is the chance to excel and earn points towards free food or state tourney, things like that. There is positive reinforcement my 5 yr old when he started was 4 yrs old and was one of the worst bowlers in the league...no one made fun of him, etc and this past spring he received the award for the highest score in juniors for the city and state tournament and an award for the most improved junior bowler. My 10 yr old has also received numerous awards. My kids are also active in 4-H. My 10 yr won Grand champion/Best in Show with his guinea pig which we bought at a flea market for 5.00....my point is this...get your kids interested in things they want to be interested in and if they start and they find this isnt their cup of tea so to speak then dont hold them to finish because when you do that they end up being miserable. There are so many things out there for kids to try. My 10 yr old took 2 cooking projects this year at the fair and won on both of them...Both boys are active in church..my 10 yr old is even this fall going to play the guitar during worship in the praise band. I am a single mom and yeah I used to push too and someone wise showed me that pushing isnt the way to get kids to do things. Boy were they right.
     
  6. Benjamin

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    I teach my children that they will have to deal with the ways in the world while they grow in Christ and that with His help they can overcome the persecutions which will make them stronger by experience.

    It does seem rather problematic in telling my son to apply himself as a Christ should and...NOW GET OUT THERE AND GIVE THEM ALL YOU GOT AND TAKE NO PRISONERS! Really, there are very prominant atheletes who are dedicated to Christ and set an example out on the field.
     
  7. Benjamin

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    The way I'm looking at it is that he went out for this and after five practices he wants to quit; that is not enough effort, things don't come in life without a cost and paying the dues. I agree about the encouraging and I want him to learn that if he is willing to apply himself that he can succeed; he may not always make it but he should know that he tried his best he has nothing to be ashamed of.

    My wife is very sympathetic to his situation and quickly suggested he could try tennis later, but my thought is that he first needs to learn to step up to a challenge.
     
  8. Benjamin

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    Yes, or at least to be the best that they can be. Thanks
     
  9. North Carolina Tentmaker

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    Benjamin:

    First off, good job. Your trying to be the father you wish you could have had and you are active in your son’s life. Your working with him on the weight training and spending time with him, keep it up. This post may be a little long but bear with me. I have some strong feelings on this issue.

    My oldest son is 16 and a junior this year. He just decided last year that he wanted to play football. Now I love football. I played in high school and college and there is no other sport that has the potential to teach what football can. No other sport can match football for the level of physical effort and no other sport can even come close to matching the team work. 11 boys all working together and if just one fails in his assignment the entire thing breaks down. To pour his maximum effort in to each play, to hold nothing back and give all he has. Then you get up go back and do it again. It is an awesome sport. Those who have never played just can’t understand. You can’t really get it just watching. I told my son last week I have two football injuries that cause me pain every winter. I have an ankle and a knee that will hurt me for the rest of my life. Why on earth would I want my son to participate in a sport that will likely do the same to him? Because I also know the benefits. I know it was worth it and would do it again.

    I did not push my son into playing football. I am sure he knows how much I love it but I think it is a horrible youth sport. Kids under the age of 12 have no business trying to play football. They don’t have the size, strength, or ability to play it right and most of what they learn will be wrong.

    Don’t let him quit. Quitting is never the answer. Once he made the commitment to go out for the team he gave his word. He needs to give nothing less than his best effort. If he gets cut and does not make the team, let it be because he gave it 100% and just was not good enough, don’t let it be because he gave up. Everything in life worth anything is difficult. I told my son before summer workouts started that there would be days he wanted to quit. If you don’t at some point want to quit then they are not pushing you hard enough. A lot of workouts are nothing but heart checks. Do you have the heart to keep going when you want to quit? When it’s hard, when it hurts, when it seems hopeless, will you continue to give all you have. Later in a game situation when they are loosing and being physically beaten will he give up and walk off the field? Or will he hold his head high in honor, line up, and go one more time? It’s not his physical strength or ability that will determine that but the size and strength of his spirit. And that spirit will stand with him for the rest of his life. Someday, when his job, his marriage, his children, his church, or some other aspect of his life seems to be overwhelming and too much to take, he will want to quit then also, but he won’t. He won’t because he will remember that after the darkness of the valley comes the glory of the mountaintop. He will remember from experience that if he does not quit, if he gets up and goes one more play and one more day he will overcome.

    Who cares if he sits the bench? Who cares if the coach is a jerk? I guarantee you every lost boy on that team knows your son is a Christian. They have probably been taught this lie that Christian men are weak. We turn the other cheek and love our enemies. They see that as weakness and if your son quits he will not only dishonor himself but bring reproach on the name of Christ. If he fails then he fails but let him know that he gave his very best.

    If he fails there are lots of other sports and activities he can participate in. Let him know you are proud of his effort and understand how hard he worked.

    My son is playing in his first full contact scrimmage tomorrow night. He never played before this year. We homeschool so we had to go to the school board and register him as a homeschooler who attends the public high school part time in order to be eligible to participate in sports. I don’t know how well he is going to do. The first regular season game is August 22 and I know he won’t be starting and am not sure how much playing time he will get. But I have seen the effort he has put into this. He started weight training back in 2007. He worked out with the team during the spring even though he was not a student at the high school. He worked out on his own all summer long with drills the coach gave him so he could work on his own before practice started. Whatever the outcome Friday my son is a winner and has learned much already.

    I don’t know how much help I can give you from a coaching standpoint. PM me and I will give you anything I can. With my own son there are times he won’t listen to me but if the coach tells him the same thing I have been saying all of a sudden he believes him. Teenagers are a lot of fun.
     
  10. Benjamin

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    Teamwork, dedication, facing a challenge with all your heart and giving it all you got, school spirit, the feeling of looking at a mountain and making it to the top...or at least to know that you gave it your best effort.


    He was interested in football, found out it is not going to be easy, and quickly decided maybe it is not his cup of tea. I suggested to him that there will be bad times and also good, but that if he needs to leave it that he should know he gave it his best effort, maybe wait to see if he gets cut after trying hard rather than just give up, and that is the kind of grounding character he needs to develop.
     
  11. North Carolina Tentmaker

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    There is a commercial (I think for nike) where they have a coach out there with his football team. He says something like:
    This thread just made me remember that.


    I remember a lot of lessons I learned from my high school football coach. Lessons in strength and self dicipline. I remember one time it was raining during summer practice and he brought us into the gym. He had one of his daughters there. He picked two players off the team, one a big senior and one a little freshman. He had each player pick up his daughter who was about 12 or so, a chuncky girl she probably weighed 120 lbs. He had them carry his daughter and race the length of the basketball court and back while he timed them.

    Once they were done he did not care about the times. He asked us, he said, which player is stronger? The answer was obvious, the senior was. Then he asked us about the way the two players carried his daughter. The senior had carried her easily up and down the court. The freshman had struggled under the load and staggered through. Which player, he asked, carried her the gentlest? Real strength, was his lesson, real strength can be seen in how gently you can carry the women in your life. It is the weak who struggle and the weak who make any relationship bumpy.

    Thus endeth the lesson.
     
  12. Benjamin

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    That is the kind of encouragment this dad needs to hear and relay to his son! Thanks

    Yeah, I told him him that I thought it was a heart check also. I am considering talking to the coach, because I did ask at the begining about him being inexperienced and he said it was not a problem, yet when he asked for some advice it seems one of the coaches (there are five for the freshman team alone) was rather course. I want to make sure he at least gets a fair chance.
     
  13. Karen

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    In my opinion, whether he drops out of football or not, he needs to know that you love him unconditionally and that he doesn't have to play football to make you happy.
    Did he try out because he was really interested in it or because you thought he was flabby and you had dropped the ball? Is that how he sees you defining manhood? Just questions. You still have to evaluate the individual situation.

    Kids differ greatly in their interests and abilities. Sometimes, it is ok just to try something out. Sometimes they will become really good at something that will surprise you.

    Although my family is somewhat different than tentmaker's. Because of his injuries and other injuries he had seen, my husband forbade our kids to play football, period.
    That of course is individual choice.
     
  14. North Carolina Tentmaker

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    That's right Karen.:thumbs:

    Football takes a mentality that some kids just do not have. I was always afraid that my kids would play just to make me happy and I knew that once they got on the field that would never be enough. It is something they have to want for themselves.

    Talking to the coaches is always good Ben, the JV or B team coaches are often second tier teachers who don't always know what they are doing. If you are able to volunteer and help they may be able to use you also. With your experience body building you may be able to help them with their strength traing and conditioning programs for next year.

    My son went through some of the same searching, wondering what position to play. I told him that he should talk to the coaches, but had to be careful of his attitude when he did. My son really wants to play wide receiver but I don't know if he is fast enough. They have worked him at every position but QB this summer. I told him to ask the coach what position he should play but to phrase it this way:
    As a first year player he needs to show not only willingness but excitment at special team positions. I do not think it would be out of line for him to ask the coach specifically if he thought there might be a spot for him on the punt or punt return teams. And of course study, study, study, that playbook. When a starter goes down he wants to be ready to fill anyone's shoes.

    Any time he wants to talk to the coaches he needs to show some tact about when and how he approaches them. Getting them alone before or after practice may be best.
     
  15. Benjamin

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    He knows that I love him and also that this is the reason I would not be happy if he were to simply drop out. I want the best for him. Regardless, the unconditional still love goes without question.

    Yes, he expressed interest in playing but also a lack off confidence. Last year in 8th grade he went out for flag football which consisted of a one day tryout and he didn’t make the team. He was disappointed, and he had been asking me for over a year and a half to start working out. We have a 14 x 16 exercise room in our home full of equipment but all I had shown him was some techniques and basics; that is why I feel I dropped the ball.

    I told him he was old enough and we would get going on the weight training and make a difference. I also told him high school football would be a different story and we would get him a leg up through strength training. Five months has got him close to benching his weight (140 lbs) and now that he is getting toned 180 lb bench wouldn’t be an unreasonable goal in another four to six months. This hard work would put him well ahead of most his peers in physical conditioning and abilities to succeed in competitive sports.

    I do feel that a man’s character (manhood) should consist of being all he can be; this includes being tough and prepared spiritually, mentally, and physically. I guess that order would also pretty much define the importance. Physical development is a very close second to the mental development of a body/mind and these add to life quality conjointly. He is in honor classes for his academics and I do not feel he should not be taking physical development lightly in comparison. IOW’s I would consider ping-pong to be as inappropriate physically as low grades in easy classes academically because of what he is capable of if he applies himself.
     
    #15 Benjamin, Aug 14, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 14, 2008
  16. Benjamin

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    I did email the head coach, and I’m sorry but I was in too much of a hurry to rewrite the “life lesson” paragraph in all my own words and plagiarized you man, lol. I hope you forgive me.



    He responded back and said he was going to address this situation and would be sure that this situation would be taken care of. He also went into agreeing that every young man should have an opportunity to succeed and thanked me for bringing it to his attention and let him know of any further issues.

    My wife read it and said the one paragraph was a bit much and shorter to the point would have been better, maybe so, but I am known to be long winded and preachy just like that anyway at times and think us guys like sharing that kind of “pump up” talks. ;)
     
  17. Gina B

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    Unless there is a compelling reason to quit, such as a coach being abusive (tough is not abusive), then I don't allow my kids to quit something they committed to.

    When you join a team, it means you've committed yourself to it. The only regret I have it not having explained that thoroughly to my kids BEFORE they joined something.

    My oldest wanted to play flute. Her best friend played. I bought her a flute, and they are NOT cheap. She wasn't that great at it in the beginning. It was hard. She was bored. She told me she was quitting.

    I told her that two things.

    1. You made a committment to the group when you not only signed onto the elective music program. You do not break a committment just because you're bored or it's harder than you thought unless you are ill or you are being abused.

    2. If you decide to quit, you will pay back every bit of money that I spent on the flute, including gas money and wear and tear on my vehicle to take you to practices or to events where you were playing.

    Then I left the choice up to her.

    She decided to keep playing the flute for the rest of the school year.

    But what about the coach doing things that seem unfair or that humiliate you? Well, there's not much that doesn't make a kid feel humiliated when they're a teenager. That's life. Unfairness happens. Cope. Help them cope, but don't rush in and save them from every vestige of unfairness that happens, even though it hurts and makes you angry if your kid is treated wrong. It's a great time to remind them to pray for those that treat them unfairly. It's a wonderful time to let your son know you value and respect him, and to let him know his Heavenly Father loves and cherishes him, and that the over zealousness of a coach or what he may say isn't accurate, it's an attempt to push him to try harder and do better. The coach may be taking the wrong approach, but in a few years, it's more than likely that he's going to have to work under a supervisor that isn't going to all salt and light either. Let him learn humility now, in a setting where you can be there for him and guide and encourage him, because later in life, he'll have to deal with it on his own and what you've taught him will be of great value then, even if he isn't too thrilled with it at the moment.

    That's my opinion. Every child and situation is different, but that's my approach with my own children. :)
     
  18. North Carolina Tentmaker

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    Just for the public record, Karen's fear of injury in not unfounded. My son broke his arm in practice today.:tear:

    I was worried about how my wife was going to take it. He said something about not staying for practice tomorrow. Her response was something along the lines of, "I don't care if your standing on the sidelines wearing a cast, that is still your team and your still a part of it. That is where you need to be.

    The head coach made a point of calling the ER, (one of the assistants was there with us) and letting my son know that he was still part of the team and he wanted him there for every home and away game even if he was out for the season.

    The orthepedic doctor says 4-6 weeks, perhaps sooner if he can rig it so he can play in a cast.
     
  19. Benjamin

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    That is awful news! I am so sorry to hear that. :praying: It's a rough sport. Really? Rig it so he can play in a cast? That might generate some good hits eh? ;)
     
  20. North Carolina Tentmaker

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    National Federation rules state (I worked as an official for high school football for 5 years) that they can play with a cast on providing 1) they have a letter from their doctor saying it is ok, and 2) the cast is completely encased in a soft foam rubber at least 1/2" thick so that no hard or metal surfaces are uncovered.
     

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