Tuesday, June 26, 2007

What I Learned about Parenthood from Watching Sports Fans

I know you’ve seen them. The face-painted, shouting super-fan who will bear the elements (and the embarrassment) to show his or her pride in a sports team. We may think they’re crazy, but there are actually a lot of parenting lessons to be learned from these maniacs.
Show your colors
You know the type…the guys with bare chests painted in team colors at an outdoor football game in the winter. They are shameless when it comes to promoting their team and being proud of who they support. Family pride isn’t something we see often, but kids benefit greatly from knowing and seeing that it’s good to be a part of this family. So be proud of your family and make that pride known.
Be willing to do the wave
These are the people who do the wave even when it annoys the people around them. They show cheer for every little thing, almost for the sake of cheer itself. Every day you have opportunities to support your kids. Be willing to stand up and show your support in a big way! No matter where you are, your kids should know that you are willing to stand up and support them.
Don’t be a fair weather fan
Kids have ups and downs, and they need you to be there for them even when they do something wrong. It’s easy to support them when things are good, just like it’s easy to jump on the bandwagon when a team is having a winning season. It’s harder to support them when they make mistakes, especially when they didn’t take your advice. Those are the times when the sports fanatics may be the only ones in the stands. Be there no matter what, with your face painted and your arms waving.
Display your memorabilia
You know it when you walk into a sports fanatic’s house. The rooms may be painted in the team colors, and there are banners, helmets, etc. on the walls. The closet is full of jerseys and the cars all have team stickers or license plates. When people walk into your house, they should know immediately who your kids are and how much you support them. Display your photos (not just the studio ones!), ticket stubs, art projects, etc. Keep the reminders of family on display for the visitors as well as for the kids.
Buy season tickets
Sports fanatics are willing to wait outside all night to be first in line at the box office to get season tickets. If you go to all of your kids’ activities with that same enthusiasm, they will notice and it will be part of the cherished memories that they still talk about as an adult. Kids remember when their parents didn’t miss a game.