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Finding the Balance Between Youth Sports and Family Part 2 – David King and Margot Starbuck


if we can have that kind of understanding that the experiences that we're having in the sporting world somehow prepare us for a life situation we're going to have over here that's what we're about we're not about to win and we have to change the culture or at least go against the current culture of today welcome to the focus on the family broadcast helping families thrive welcome back to focus on the family thank you you have stirred the pot the hornet's nest is shaking again because this is so core to who we are we we do invest highly in our sporting activities our children's sporting activities I can remember and I want you guys to speak to this and I have shared this story a couple of times but I remember being in sixth grade I was in Little League they stacked three games a night you know boom boom boom and I was the next game and I was watching a poor little boy I felt bad for him it was those one of those pressure moments where's the bottom of the last inning and that team was down by a couple of runs the bases were loaded and the count was three and two and this little kids up at the plate and he wet his pants for all to see and you could just see you know it spread right through his little gray flannel Little League pants and I just was mortified for him I didn't laugh I didn't make fun of him at all because I felt that could be me but talk about that kind of pressure that little lad was feeling well unfortunately as you mentioned in your intro that there is so much good about what we can learn from sports and how it can help to develop kids but the more that we had also have gotten into it and come through it we've changed the perspective and we changed the priorities and so when you look at that young lad it that that's devastating he's probably still talking about it at least with his wife one of the question one of the questions would be how did everyone else around there handle that situation and that would go to one of those myths to say it wouldn't have happened if all of the parents wouldn't have been there no one would have known about I mean the other kids whatever or not someone has got to be there to put the tender love and care to that situation be that child's champion be that child's champion and to recognize what would be really interesting to see if there isn't a situation where a parent anybody any adults sitting there went through a very similar situation not wetting their pants at 45 but but something similar to where that total embarrassment of that situation occurred and so when you look at it how can we turn that into a positive and I'll say that's the moment where I want my child who's sitting on the bench to be the person that I want them to be we assume that youth that that youth sports is instilling our family's values but you know when it's win-win-win when it's the macho ideal when it's you can't cry I want my child to be the kid who gives that one a pat on the back you know when he comes in and says it's all right don't worry about it those are the values that I want to see my kids embodying as they're playing youth sports I like that hey let me ask you this too one of the miss you address in your book is that we owe it to our children and especially if you play sports you do kind of feel you know ki o every opportunity Oreo her every opportunity you did women's basketball you're jumping near that that idea I owe my child everything I'm thinking of my my granddad growing up in the depression where you know his aunt would go without eating a pork chop so that he could have one you know maybe those adults owed our children something my kids and most of the kids I know are privileged they have so much I don't think I owe them everything I think I'm a better parent if I don't give them everything so I'd love to dispel that idea that we owe them something and what Dave and I are encouraging parents to do is to know your child and that's what I love when you notice that you know t-ball Baseball might not be your son's thing is to wreck it you know maybe art is that child's thing maybe it's something else and that's just good parenting when you can see who your child is and it might not be athlete I don't see anything wrong with giving them an opportunity you want to give your kids opportunities the question is do I owe it to them it's a very fine line between giving them the opportunity to go after their dreams to involve themselves to learn from all the good that happens in sports nothing wrong with giving them that opportunity but doing it because I owe it to them to keep up with the Joneses so to speak that's where it comes to my mind a little bit off of the balance well that's that peer pressure that we parents face right okay Jim if you and I are talking and your son is playing football and my son to use your illustration Margaux is good at art it's that doesn't work so well in dad groups as we're talking about accomplishments you know yeah my kid had three touchdowns my son drew a nice picture you know the code the culture doesn't support this so how do you as a parent manage that what do you do say hey well one of the things that I would suggest and this goes back maybe to the congregational piece would be I really encourage congregations to form these support groups among parents who have kids at this age both in the arts and music just to sit down and talk because the one thing starting all the way back from the producer who wanted to hide the ten-month-old she doesn't know what to do but if she has a question about it she should be able to talk to other people around there so if you can sit down if we if we can sit down in groups of parents and actually honestly say you know I don't know what to do because my son is an artist and not a sports person how do we do that and and provide that safe environment for everybody to own who they are and who their kids are rather than just taking on this role that we have in our society that we're going to talk about my son or daughter when they're really good around the water cooler at work and and otherwise we won't Margo you touched on this a second ago but you begin to weave that Family Values kind of perspective in with sports let's drill into that a little bit because as Christians you know we want our kids our young people to come out of these experiences with greater integrity to be honest to manage disappointment well sometimes it doesn't mix that well because the other parent sitting next you hey I want to win the game your kid dropped the ball back off that happens like John situation with other parents I don't think that my responsibility is to other parents my responsibility is to my child and I'm thinking of my daughters one bad high school basketball season and I could not have been more proud she was mostly benched but when the starters came in she was hustling to bring each one of them why and that's the most successful sports season that I one of my children has had because those are the values that I want her to be embodying and yeah maybe they never won but Margaux come on that competitive parent is hearing that going oh right goody two-shoes I'm sorry but really you were happy she was on the beach I understand that not every parent is going to buy into this but there's a lot of parents who are with that Dave and I are finding are waking up to say oh maybe it is okay that this is what my family is about Dave let me ask you this though the intensity of sporting today I see it you know when I played football I mean we were ragtag we didn't have all the latest equipment the wrist stuff the hand stuff the gloves I mean we just kind of got out there they issued some equipment we put it on and we played today they all look like they're pro players and everybody wants to look the part and that intensity almost follows with the professional look doesn't it oh absolutely and unfortunately as I said from the very beginning we have made this and add alt event and we've put all that stuff on and the first thing that does is it also plows our ability to really understand how good our children are they look the part so therefore we think they're going to be in that 3% to start playing in college and they really aren't and so the trapper said you just threw that out there but you got to catch that only 3% of high school athletes play in college at any level and is actually going to play the pros only about 1% of that 3 percent yeah it is a very small number which again doesn't mean you shouldn't play the sports but you should have the perspective of what you're really trying to do it for and so if we can go back to this he is talking about instilling the values I understand how difficult it is to sit there when the mom and dad are over beside you or so are just screaming and yelling and want to win and you have a different value and I don't know if you can come up with it Margo but you've told a very fascinating story that didn't get into our book my soccer player was benched by his parents because of his grades and it was a big game for the team his English teacher came running over waving a progress report that she had just printed out he can play he can play and I had to say in front the game yes in front of the parents the coach the players the teacher I don't know what he told you but yours isn't the only class in which he's you know failing and he's not going to play like the teacher was heartbroken but I love it cuz after the game she did give him a talking-to that was a hard decision as a mom oh the pressure for you Armus everybody's looking at you the coat you got the evil eye from the couch I withstand the pressure from your child on that oh he knew he knew that he had sort of not described the situation to his teacher that would also go back to the preparation because I'm sure that Margaux has had some of these conversations with them here's why we're doing it here's the values that we can instill in what's going on and whether you set those parameters to say this is a privilege to play you're gonna have to keep up all of your chores you're going to keep up your academics you have to do everything else those are conversations that I'm sure Margaux has had with her soccer player and so you prepare them for that oh they're disappointed trust me but and David the this again points to the culture at large is that we don't understand the benefit of failure absolutely we only think in terms of success but failure brings a lot of good character building to your child you know let me tell you a quick story which I just find fascinating and that is I was working with a group of young people to convention one time and I talked about disappointments and how to handle disappointments and failures and so I put together scenarios and it was a basketball game and you were down by one and they called traveling and the other team got the ball threw it in and threw a Hail Mary or whatever and scored and you lost and they went on in the state championship and you what are your feelings and so these young people started talking about feelings no frustration life's not fair anger you know mad at the referee mad at this and all that I said okay now can you think about something down the road in your life that might be similar and several people had answers in on one young man in the front row raised his hand he said miscarriage and I was stunned but he and his family somewhere I never talked to him afterwards somewhere and his family he had a situation that was close to somebody throwing in a half-court shot to win the state championship and make you lose and if we can make that kind of comparison I'm not trying to main sports to miscarriages please understand me but if we can have that kind of understanding that the experiences that we're having in the sporting world somehow prepare us for a life situation we're going to have over here that's what we're about we're not about to win you know we have to change the culture or at least go against the current culture of the day mmm Margo let me let me ask you when it comes to the pressure you have a seven eight year old they may not have a lot of interest but you as the adult you're looking down line they have enough interest that you know if they start now they'll have the skillset to play junior high high school and yet yeah they're not really wanting to play how do you how do you manage that and then talk about the other end of that continuum now they are in eighth grade I've got that situation Troy he did not play Little Lake he all of a sudden said I won't try baseball anyway now and he actually did really well I mean hit about 300 and he'll listen to me third base but he only played maybe three four innings a game he didn't play the full game because there are other players that had played three or four years before and this team kind of had held together so he was the new kid all that stuff and I'm sitting there as a parent thinking oh if I would have started him at seven eight that might have worked better but and now he wants to play in eighth grade and but he's only got one year under his belt so what is really good news for you studies have shown there's not a correlation between a child's athletic development ability before age 12 and after age 12 and it's really counterintuitive and so what that means is kids who really shy as eight year olds are getting passed by by other players who are developing a little bit later and in my experience as a parent I had a two-year-old when he was three four he was magic with any ball that he touched and he was the star in all of his sports when he was seven eight nine and so I see a certain future for him and he gets to a certain age and and it shifts he did find one sport that he's you know sort of enjoying and pursuing but parents can't hold on to that too tightly and I hope you hear it as good news and not yeah no I do it yeah that's a good thing so don't over invest when they're young yeah meaning you're gonna be a pro and you're gonna play college no I absolutely and I think one of the interesting things about and I want to make sure that we understand that the study that she referred to is that there is some correlation but not a lot of correlation and so the message in that study is just because they are really good as a five-year-old or as a twelve year old doesn't automatically mean they're gonna be the quarterback on the high school varsity doesn't mean you shouldn't stop letting them play but that's what we put our minds into and I've coached so many junior high kids who got passed by the other people who came on afterwards right and and but our first mind is they're really good as a three-year-old as a five-year-old they're a natural with the ball etc so the point is just because in no coach no college coach has ever recruited a kid because they're you ten soccer team won the national championship okay it's based upon later on in life and you know one of the things too it's a great opportunity to prepare your young one for that environment I had one that you know you want to try out for basketball forty kids showed up there were gonna be 12 positions and he had not played YMCA basketball he did a little bit in the driveway with our hoop but that was it so before I dropped him off I said now you know some of these kids have been playing a while so just go out and give your your best and then we'll see where it goes so I pick him about the first night he's beaming cuz he got through the first like 15 of the kids were gone and it's dad and yeah I made it it's um that's great he goes but there's another cut tomorrow night they're gonna get down to 12 and sure enough I picked him up that night he wasn't beaming quite as bright what do I say and he gets in the car and I just said how'd it go and he said I didn't make it and I said how you feeling about that he goes actually pretty good you know the fact that I haven't played a lot and I got this far I'm doing okay with it I said okay good one that now we can work on it and next year you can try again but you got to find those opportunities to build them up well one of the keys that I would say is the questions you asked your son how are you feeling about that because most times parents will say who's that coach what do they know about I've seen out of the kid play how did he make it and they just go on and on on this rant and you were more concerned about how he was feeling about the situation now the next question would be can you find him another opportunity that's the one problem I have with the current culture of the youth sports

it's a pyramid system where we keep selecting everybody starts playing as a rec level and all of that and then we start finding the travel teams and we got to figure out whether Colorado Springs can beat Fort Collins in nine year old basketball or soccer hockey it's vital we find that right it's important to the future of the world or something Colorado so you know we go ahead and do that and but what happens is if you're not selected what do you say I'm done I quit and that's why they're quitting so we have this pyramid system that's being developed and we don't have enough programs out there that will have let your son go play something out well the other thing at that age rejection comes and it feels like tons of weight not ounces we know as adults that that pimple on your face is not going to destroy your life but at that age it's big these are disappointments setbacks that sometimes they're just not mature enough to manage in the larger context yeah I would also say that don't take it too far in that conversation and make it this philosophical right tirade for about a half an hour on what you can learn from this whole experience and everything else but you're absolutely right I think it's a time and and and at that time I just also tell you he doesn't want to hear a lot of failure at that point but you raise a very good point into saying you have to at least identify us how painful that is and your question about how do you feel and then that really released him because he could recognize that you weren't disappointed if you show disappointment now we have now he's got a real problem and knowing how to handle it so I commend you for the just those things are good things to remember constantly you talk in the book overplayed how fear and not love can drive our choices as parents talk about that because fear and love I mean this gets down to the core of our spiritual character and our commitment to Christ I think we heard that in you know this pressure to start our kids really young it's a fear of missing out and we're just always wanting to invite parents to look at who your child is and be driven by love and not fear and love means we're going to be making different choices than some other parents yeah I would say one of you talked about the culture being very different I think that's where the that's where the real crux of the issue comes is the fact that not only has the pressure come on children to be good in the sports we as parents feel the pressure that we're not being good parents if our kid wasn't the starter and so when you start to do that now that's the fear the fear is that if my son or daughter isn't successful it's somehow a reflection of my parenting skills whether it be ty didn't give him the opportunity I didn't push him hard enough I didn't do all of that so the fear is actually personal in my mind a lot of this is the fear of the parents having kids who weren't successful in sports and the love comes through to say no you need to focus on who your son or daughter is as a whole person and don't play base it just upon the sports well and I think the difficulty we have is Christian sporting families is that we don't want to make mistakes I mean we're trying hard to teach our kids fundamentally spiritual values that will last them a lifetime on top of that foundation we're building in hopefully good academic disciplines that they can learn the things they need to learn on top of that we're using sports to hopefully teach them character and success and failure all those things but but we can get so intentional about it that we get to – I don't know wrapped up in it as opposed to just letting it happen naturally and I want to jump in and say as a Christian sporting family I think any parent wants to do what's best for their child but as a Christian I'm also concerned with what's best for other children and I feel like we haven't touched on this yet there are kids on my children's teams who maybe can't afford a hundred and twenty five dollars for the warmup outfit huh or there's a kid in my neighborhood really should be playing but his parents are working a couple of jobs and they can't get in there so I would love for Christian families yes bless your child but be looking a little further have some peripheral vision to see kids who you know might do great if we can help them have some of these opportunities and excel it's not about just my child it's about other kids as well that's a great idea if you see that maybe that's something you're maybe a couple of parents could participate in and take care of the equipment cost or the registration fee and privately with the coach yeah that's anything well that's the other thing that we have to recognize is what we are talking about is very much of a privilege situation because I've talked to many people in the inner cities of different places that just simply don't have the opportunities that are that our children have and we're out there so I think that you're actually right to try to build the balance here between you know adding the spiritual things I would also just make sure that we don't always see sporting events as this evangelical tool because that's really not why they we might say that we might say well the reason we're playing is because we want to minister other people and it's kind of like are you sure your kid knows that that's not really what your kids about and all of that and I really like her idea of somehow seeing beyond ourselves in it Dave and Margo one of the things I observed with college athletics particularly we did a Super Bowl ad with Tim Tebow and we were able to go to the last game of the season and just at the hotel with the parents and the players just watching them interact a lot of the pro scouts came because it was the end of several of their season and you saw different dynamics going on you could see parents maybe single moms single parent moms who were desperate for their young men to make it because it was going to help pay for some things talk about that pressure getting into college getting the scholarship maybe they're coming from poor districts and the pressure is on those young men and women to do well have you experienced that kind of family dynamic well certainly you're talking about Division one level and I've my experience has all been at the Division three level so we usually don't have those that are that are even thinking about or knowing that they're going to go pro and I think that creates a real dilemma what's interesting about that is the fact that one of the studies that recently came out was indicating that professional basketball players about 40% of professional basketball players have a relative who has played their sport at the very highest level hmm in other words indicating there is a gene pool there that's connecting them to where they're going to be at and you know quite honestly I don't know exactly how to address the situation when the the high level college and the pro sports are actually the ticket out of some of the poverty situations that are there that's a dilemma that I really haven't personally faced because of where I'm at and yet you see that as a guide and actually you'll also see that many of those were multi-sport athletes all the way through the high school and they didn't it's interesting they didn't if one thing you could say is they didn't have all of those opportunities to play all the stuff we've just been talking about and look where they got right so at least look at it and say this is a great opportunity to invest in my child but it may not be this result out here that's not why I'm doing it right okay and that's the read don't go this is why I'm doing it I'm telling you these last couple of days as a parent of two boys John I know you're feeling it in tracking here yeah and every parent who has children who want to be or who are already in sports I know this has been helpful it's been helpful to me and we so appreciate your book overplayed and just the time and investment of sharing your hearts your experiences with us thank you so very much for being with us you know I hope you can support the ministry because I know it's the kind of tool or resource that you're gonna need and I wish a few years ago I would have had this it would have helped my journey with Trent and Troy and maybe I think a better parent in some cases and that's the point isn't it and we've been through those experiences learned from our mistakes and I know that both David and Margo are saying that you've got plenty of mistakes but also some great successes alright it's your last chance we're signing off so both of you you hit me with that last piece of advice for for that parent of the 8th grader and the 10th grader what do I got to do I want moms and dads to feel that they have the freedom to do what's best for their child so I hope parents are gonna live free without a lot of these pressures that are crushing families the intentional in that way I really hope that this starts conversation the dis starts discussion because we have avoided this for so long it's there it's the culture we're sucked into it and we need to find ways to actually honestly look at ourselves and say what's best for our kids and how can I best handle it if I want nothing else I want to have parents and churches congregations youth pastor starting to openly discuss this because that's the only way they're gonna find solutions that's a wonderful point David King and Margo Starbuck co-authors of the book overplayed this has been a wonderful discussion thanks for being with us thanks so much Jim thank you very much for the opportunity hey I'm John fuller and thanks for watching get more info about focus over here and more from our guests over there and be sure to subscribe to our channel as well you

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