Sure, Winning is Great, but Good Sportsmanship is More Than That

Z backstroke

We often hear that “it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.” In a perfect world, that might be true. But we don’t live in a perfect world. And there’s no question that it feels a lot better at the end of a game to have won rather than lost.

But there’s a big difference between “winning” and “winning at any cost.”

Z backstrokeMy 12-year-old daughter has played softball, basketball, volleyball, and been a competitive swimmer for several years. And I’ve been involved in competitive sports for as long as I can remember, playing Little League, lettering in swimming and baseball in high school, competing in martial arts, and playing in adult softball leagues. Over that time, I’ve seen plenty of examples of good—and bad—sportsmanship.

In one basketball game this past year, my daughter’s 6th-grade team was getting slaughtered by a taller, faster, older, and more skilled team. We were down something like 20-4 at the half and there was clearly no way we were going to make it close. So I was surprised that at the start of the second half, the opposing coach continued to play his starters. His players kept stealing the ball, blocking shots, running plays, picking and rolling, and widening their lead. I honestly don’t remember what the score was at the end—and I honestly don’t care.

[Read more…]

Slingshot or Boomerang? Your Choice

Dear Mr. Dad: Our 15-year old son is still a few years away from college, but my wife and I are already thinking about when he’s going to move out and begin a life on his own. A number of our friends have kids who have already graduated from college and one after another, those kids are moving back home. We love our son and would be happy to have him visit anytime—or move back for a short time in case of emergency—but we really want him to be self-sufficient. What can we do now to make sure he can make it on his own out there?

A: The fact that you’re asking the question at all gives your son a better chance than other kids his age of thriving in the real world. Too many parents cross their fingers and hope for the best; you’re actually taking steps to make it happen. For everyone else, finger crossing and hoping aren’t terribly effective strategies.

A recent report from the Pew Research Center found that the percentage of young adults living at home has more than doubled over the past three decades or so. Back in 1980, about 11% of adults 20-34 spent some time living with their parents. Today, it’s nearly 30%. Young men are a bit more likely than young women to be sharing a roof with ma and pa.

[Read more…]

Teaching Values + Adventures in Homeschooling

[amazon asin=B005GNKI30&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest 1: Mary O’Dohohue, author of When You Say ‘Thank You,’ Mean It.
Topic: 12 lessons for instilling lifelong values in your children.
Issues: A 12-month program (that’s easy to implement and actually works) for teaching values: gratitude, self-respect, respect for others, integrity, compassion, forgiveness, a sense of joy, commitment, lifelong learning, inner strength, spirituality, and a sense of purpose.

[amazon asin=0399537600&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest 2: Quinn Cummings, author of The Year of Learning Dangerously.
Topic: Adventures in homeschooling.
Issues: Making the decision to enter the unfamiliar water of homeschooling; the highlights and pitfalls of taking your children’s education into your own hands; what do to—and what not to do along the way.