Lou Holtz is a renowned football coach, television commentator and popular motivational speaker. In his speeches, he shares some of the life lessons he has learned in his 78 years, many of which have been spent in high profile positions.
While Lou Holtz certainly doesn't claim to be a parenting expert, I recently watched an interview that he did and found myself nodding in agreement time and time again and thinking that his wisdom applies to my parenting struggles. I shouldn't be surprised, as good advice generally applies across the board.
Here are seven pieces of parenting advice from Lou Holtz (or rather, seven axioms for life from Lou Holtz and why I think they apply to parenting):
1. Attack the performance, not the performer.
Lou Holtz said that he didn't go after his player personally, but rather what they did on the field. Do the same with your kids. Make the distinction that you love them but strongly disapprove of their choices or actions.
It applies academically, too. There's such a huge difference between being bad at math and doing badly on a math test, and assuring your children that you know they can do better.
Kids need to know that you're on their side, and the distinction between performance and performer makes that much more feasible.
2. Forget about what's on the outside. You just have to be best team in the stadium that day.
Parenting is not a competition. Really, it isn't. I don't care that the neighbors and sports parents and the room parents want to make it such. It isn't. It's about focusing on helping your child reach their full potential, and be the best parent you can be on any given day. Parenting is much easier when you aren't comparing or distracted by what others are doing.
Comparison is the thief of joy.
3. Enjoy what you are doing.
There are days when parenting is less than enjoyable. I know that's the understatement of the year. That doesn't mean, though, that you can't focus on the positive and work to find the joy and hang on to those moments of laughter.
Tweens and teens can be hilarious, right? I know they get a bum rap, and they're certainly not easy, but they also can be fun and funny.
When I heard Lou say this, it reminded me that it my responsibility to create a household and family framework in which we can all be happy. You are the leader of your family and if you're not happy, it's tough for other people to be happy.
4. Give a player something he is capable of doing and demand that they do it to raise confidence.
Tweens and teens may have a lot of swagger, but they also have a lot of self doubt, too. Parents can and should put kids in situations where they can succeed. I'm not saying don't let them fail, not by any means, but succeeding is important, too. Also, there is something to be said for finding satisfaction in a job well done, be it making the bed, other chores at home or volunteering outside the home.
5. WIN - which stands for "what's important now."
This applies to both parents and kids. For parents, there is plenty to worry about and a lot of tasks to be done. You can't do it all, and you can't worry about it all. Well, actually you can, but that makes #3 pretty challenging.
Knowing what's important now can help you focus, and focus breeds success. You can't teach your child everything all at once, so identify what's important now and work on that. Take things one step at a time.
Prioritizing can be so hard, especially for adolescents, but parents can help them identify what's important now. (Hint: It's probably not texting.)
6. Don't go through life as a spectator.
Lou said that he made a list of things he wanted to do and see. A bucket list. And he's crossed off more than 100 items on the list. He had categories for family and football as well as for faith, finances, and fun.
Our kids may work hard to make us think they are not paying attention, but they are watching. Modeling how to be an adult who is involved in all aspects of life, and who has interests and dreams and goals, is an important part of parenting.
Also, see #3.
7. Know your mandate.
Your mandate is to keep your child safe and help him/her become a productive member of society. It is not to be your child's friend. I wrote a whole post about the topic here.
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Filed under: Parenting