Potential today is not our potential in a year. Or 5. To be aware of what a child is capable of today is important for parents, teachers and coaches. Potential, what happens when everything works correctly. Study for a test, handle the pressure and apply what you have learned. Results? Your potential.
An important lesson for us to teach our kids is where they are at and what is possible for them today and a little bit about tomorrow. Sure we will teach them to dream, but here, in this post, it is about today. Thinking about unrealistic potential is unfair and dangerous. The sports parent who has grand ideas of going to the meet today and seeing her daughter score 38.00 when her daughter has never scored over 30 is unrealistic. Yet we see it often. Today a child is capable of going from A to D but M or N? Not realistic.
It will help our kids to learn what is possible today. Certainly to work hard toward gaining M and N down the road but E, F and G are necessary before those other goals. This is why most competitions shouldn’t be about comparisons. EVERY child can come close to their potential today and not win awards. There are many other factors out there. Improvement and working to potential is what it should all be about. “Suzy, I am so proud of you for winning 3 medals and a ribbon.” “Suzy, I am so proud of you for improving each event.” Is there a difference? Is there a message in each statement? The message you want to convey to your daughter, student, athlete?
Sure the sky is the limit for these kids. THEIR SKY, not the sky of their friend. Today a 7 year old excels by doing a 4′ broad jump, in 6 years it will be her new potential distance of 6′. Live in today. The kids should be prepared for a competition with what is her potential today not unreal dreams that are out of her reach, for today.
Is this a style of teaching and parenting? Maybe. Bottom line for me as a parent, teacher and coach? Being real with the kids so that they grow with a realistic view of their world today, tomorrow and in the future. (Share if others will benefit.) Tom Burgdorf Gymnet Sports on Facebook.
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