Parents, Teachers and Coaches – When Do We Start Teaching “You Are On Your Own?”

No one to rescue you. No one to make excuses to. No safety net. Maybe even no 2nd chances or “do overs.” Start this lesson in the reality of young/middle/later life situations at what age?

I guess we should start with is this a good lesson to teach our children? That at a certain stage in their life they will be accountable for their actions. That “if you do this, then that happens.” Rather than “if you do this, then that happens but Mom will rescue you before you suffer the consequences.” Is the lesson “if/then” an important lesson for becoming a mature young adult capable of taking care of themselves?

Can children be rescued too much? Can children/athletes learn a possible bad lesson that no matter what they do they will be rescued? That concept really seems dangerous to me. If children rely on being rescued all of the time, will they take the time to make wise decisions?

Do we do too much rescuing? Personally I think so. Maybe I am a little biased because I love seeing children think for themselves which includes thinking about “if I do this then that will happen,” I dislike a great deal when the rules/plans are spelled out and then they are changed when a child or athlete falls short in preparation or effort or performance.

“Clean your room and you can go to the mall with me.” No clean room and Mom caves with “oh well, come with me anyway.” And the lesson the child learned was what? “Get these 4 skills and you can move to the next level.” “Oh, well, you were close so we will move you up any way.” And the lesson learned is?

Doesn’t a better prepared young adult “appear” when they don’t look over their shoulder all of the time for a rescuer? A young adult is more prepared for the challenges of life if they plan and make decisions based on the possibility that there will be no 2nd chances. To make the right choice first is better than making the right second choice. (Marriage, DUI, unprotected sex, finances, purchases, safety, on and on) We have all made some poor first choices, some we got away with and some that have affected our lives. To teach “if/then” can help us think more before we act. Is that what we want for our children?

When do we start? As soon as we believe our children understand what the lesson is. Probably different for every child. Consideration – is it more harmful to start too early or start too late?

Teachers have to have rules and regulations with “if this happens then that happens” to keep order. Coaches have to have the same. A team or classroom without “if/then” makes our job so much harder. And sometimes impossible.

Such a great topic to think about for all of us parenting/educators, teaching/educators and coaching/educators. (“If” you share this “then” more people will think about it.) Tom Burgdorf/Gymnet Sports on Facebook

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