sideline parenting (3 of 12) — fighting with spears

Parenting Advise from the World’s Greatest Coaches (with a Charlie’s House shimmy).

I’ve had smarter people around me all my life, but I haven’t run into one yet that can outwork me. And if they can’t outwork you, then smarts aren’t going to do them much good. That’s just the way it is. And if you believe that and live by it, you’d be surprised at how much fun you can have.   — Woody Hayes (former Ohio State football coach)

Britney Spears : Jamie Lynn Spears : Paris Hilton : Lindsey Lohan : Amy Winehouse

Michael Vick : Eminem : Nick Hogan : Steve O : Bam Margera

That sure is some stiff competition, just to name a few…

Think about how much time our kids spend out in the world without you. Think about how often they are influenced, good or bad, outside of your presence. Think about how our little sponges are absorbing information by the truckload and trying to formulate it into a shape that resembles a life of his/her own. In most cases, these sources are rich, famous, popular, cool, good looking, strong, flashy, yadda-yadda-yadda. They have everything that every child thinks they want before they have any idea what they will actually need.

Then there is us…

We work half of the hours that we are awake. We are not flashy and exciting when we are unclogging the toilet and cutting the grass. We hardly pop up on a Google search. We have to say “no” about stuff sometimes. We have financial restraints. We are not famous or popular, and we definitely are not cool. Our life is not what most children would consider desirable. To be totally honest, most of the things that they see aren’t always desirable to us either. Honestly, would YOU rather be ON “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”, or would you rather watch it while you iron another basket-full of “go to work costumes”?

Responsibility is not a glamorous calling.

So how do we win a fight against all of that stuff that I just verbally stacked in the way of a open and understanding relationship between us and our kids? What kind of game plan do we need to advance down the grid iron of individualism and uniqueness that our children are lining their fields with? What is it going to take so that we can believe in ourselves enough to actually have fun doing it?

Its simple… …if we just remember to show up to the game (with a playbook) in the first place.

You see, in the absence of a plan, our kids will go out and search for one to plug into the void we are creating by getting so wrapped up in providing for their lives that we forget to be a part of it. We have to remember that we will never be able to remove the evil outside sources from their lives. The world is going to keep on producing angry, dog killing, masochistic, disrespectful, intoxicated, promiscuous, drug using, spoiled rich kids. The good news is that we can beat them at their own game.

We just have to outwork them.

It is imperative that we plan our life to include our children. That we create opportunities to let them watch us doing life with the confidence of an all American quarterback with “fourth and inches” to go in the last seconds before the end of a bowl game. Let them see you show off your family like an actress on the red carpet peacocking her Vera Wang, Jimmy Choo, and Forzieri ensemble. Pronounce your love for your wife, family, and faith with the same guttural fortitude that some rappers spit about their money, hoochies, and things that go bling.

But for God’s sake…have fun.

No one in their right mind would want to mirror their lives after melodramatic and mundane misery. Look, most people don’t always LOVE their jobs, often worry about bills, frequently need more sleep, and have a hard time being enthusiastic about grocery shopping and laundry. So what do you think our kids think when they see us laboring over that stuff and they compare it to what they see on T.V. and the Internet? I’m not saying to have a party every time you have to clean the urine splashes off of the bathroom floor, but monitor how much work you have planned into your day that you would be better spent with your kids.

My advice is to figure out your kids schedule, and plan around THAT.

If we are going to outwork the competition, we may want to plan to save the bath tub scrubbing and the oil change for a time and day that they are busy doing something constructive. Figure out a way to force good examples on your family by showing them that they are more important than fertilizing the lawn at noon on a Saturday instead of going out for ice cream and a movie. Don’t steal “their time” by filling it with things that can be moved, pushed, or rescheduled to a time that is less intrusive to the more important game scheduled.

Our kids are short time here, long time gone.

Believe me… when the game is over, we are going to wish that when we looked back at the highlight reel we were looking at fun times, laughter, and loving experiences rather than grass clippings, laundry piles, and cleaning supplies. There is a time and a place for everything. The time for your kids is right now!

It’s up to you to get a plan together!


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