How we deal with frustration in competitions affects our children

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Regarding sportsmanship, we need to consider actions that we would want to avoid, no matter how frustrated, disappointed we may feel, especially if we feel like we got cheated in some manner. No matter if we are watching a game, participating and especially if we are the coach. All of those participatory areas need good sportsmanship to be displayed, especially when you consider all the little eyes of children who are watching and learning from you. Sportsmanship goes for adults and young children who have younger siblings who mimic the way you speak and act.

Consider the effects of cheating with the goal of winning and the impact it has on the other competitors, the referee and those watching. Everyone can see what you are doing when you cheat, and if you do get away with it one time or more, you will not trust yourself in the future to play by the rules. Young ones watching will learn that doing whatever it takes to win is the way to conduct themselves and may take it further than you did, even hurting others in the name of competition.

Rude and foul language can be the result of frustration with yourself, other competitors and the referee when a person has not developed the virtue of self-discipline. The use of this kind of language results in younger players to believe it is the only way to express yourself when you are frustrated, and soon you will see it used in the home directed at parents or in a school directed at teachers or other authority figures. Viewed as disrespectful toward authority figures, it is easy to see how it has been learned by just watching how some react when involved in competitive activities.

One other behavior that we see from frustrated coaches, parents, and participants is throwing a temper tantrum when things do not go their way. Screaming, stomping their feet, throwing items around or crying all come from a level of frustration that is uncontrolled. Consider the feelings of those the tantrum is directed towards and the teaching that is happening with those watching you in the middle of such a tantrum.

If a person deals with frustration and disappointment in negative ways, it simply cannot make anyone involved feel good about the situation or themselves. Not the one cheating, using rude language or throwing a fit or those who are on the receiving end. Think of the impact on others playing the game or those in the stands watching the competition. So how do we develop better habits in this setting? Here is a simple suggestion.

When at home watching your favorite team on television, or playing a game with your family, this is the time to practice self-control, self-discipline, consideration and dignity. Balance your enthusiasm for winning, excellence and justice with forgiveness, honesty, moderation, and respect. Remember you are a role model for all those watching you, both young and old. Set the example of having zeal with doing the right thing.

Following the rules is good sportsmanship

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On a team & in the family!

One of the keys to good sportsmanship whether in a game or practicing it at home is the need for all the players to follow the rules. If we are at home, there are rules, or we might call them boundaries that have been decided on by the family as they way they would like to live in their home. Since we are on the “team” or the family, we follow all the rules of the family.

The rules in the family may be as simple as ‘no yelling in the house,’ but that rule is in cooperation with the virtue of peacefulness that has been established as important in the family. In other parts of our life, like in sports, any game that we play will have rules that make it safe and fair for all of the participants. There are rules about how the game is played, with how many players at a time, and how to keep score.

When someone breaks the rules of a game or goes against the standards of the team many times, others suffer from that breakdown of loyalty and integrity to the event. Inside a family, if rules are broken other family members suffer also. They may feel the disappointment or the peace in the home may be lost. Opportunities for all members of the family may
not be available, just because one member of the family chose not to follow the boundaries set for the family.

Remembering that our family is our primary team will also remind us to show kindness in all of the situations with the family. When someone makes a mistake, we expect for them to make amends to hold the honor of themselves and the family. Meanwhile, the rest of the family will show kindness and forgiveness for their teammate. This idea can be applied to our teams we play on outside of the home also.

Our goal as a family is to be good teammates, supporting each other, cheering each member of the family on to be their best, to stay within the boundaries set by the family, so we are united. When we have this kind of unity, every family member will find their way of being safe, healthy, successful and happy.

Sportsmanship begins with how we think about success

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Sportsmanship is expected of our children when they are playing a game whether they win or lose. When they are on a team in a league, many times, they are taught to show sportsmanship after a match by giving the other team a handshake and “good game” to each other. The idea of sportsmanship goes beyond the end of the game formalities.

Playing the game with respect for the rules, the all of the competitors and the spirit of competition is the key to enjoying the activity and improving ourselves physically and mentally. Playing only to win at the cost of showing respect, takes away from the lessons we can learn in the game, the spirit of competition and improvement of our skills.

So how do we teach our children to play their games with respect and grace, win or lose? It begins with how we role model as parents at home, and the attitude that is encouraged at home, even when you are playing a board game as a family.

Do not take this to mean that we should not have winners and losers at home in our game. In any game or competition most of the time someone wins, and someone loses. If our children do not learn this or everyone gets a trophy in a game that clearly has a winner, they are encouraged to believe that they cannot, or worse should not lose in a game. It is not the winning or losing that is critical, it is how we win or how we lose that has an impact on our resilience with school work, a job or anytime that we may have a loss or a win and what we learn from that performance.

I paraphrase John Wooden regarding competition, ‘you would be hard pressed to find a player of mine that would tell you that I ever mentioned winning or losing. Success in anything that you do comes from the satisfaction of mind that you did the best that you could with the capabilities you have.’ Sportsmanship begins with doing the best we can, putting forth our best efforts in preparation and performance and being satisfied that we did so. Of course, we want to win, but more important is did we play the game at our best, did we learn something and are we improving.

Gifts of Character: Sportsmanship – The Definition

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Each month we will discuss one life skill with all of our students. This month’s skill is Sportsmanship. This life skill will be defined in the following ways for our students.

Young students: No matter if we win or lose, we use kind words and follow the rules!

Older students: Showing respect for the rules, the participants and the spirit of competition.

We are not your typical after school activity, in fact, we are an education center, working with students on physical self-defense skills while empowering families to bring out the best in our children and ourselves – through the martial arts. We believe every child has 52 gifts in them already. They only need to be taught how to grow and use them in their life. Balanced Life Skills serves parents, teachers, and students to reach that goal.

If you would like to see Joe Van Deuren and Balanced Life Skills at work, TRY CLASSES FOR FREE for 2 weeks.

Be generous with your gratitude

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Discussing the topic of generosity without seeing the value of expressing our appreciation for the kindness shown to us would be leaving out one of the best ways of living our best life. So many individuals in our life have been generous with their time, treasures and talents. They have been our parents, teachers, friends. Sometimes they are people we barely know and may include those in the service industries, fellow employees or an employer.

Taking the time each day to recognize these individuals who have impacted our lives helps us to have a positive attitude. It is our way of expressing our gratitude. When we express ourselves using words, we are generous, however when we go a little further with a note, small gift, or some other personal expression of our gratitude the recipient soon realizes the impact they have had on us. It makes both of us feel good about sharing our generosity.

I would like to suggest to all students that you express your appreciation for all that your teachers have done for you. In fact, do not wait until the end of the year to make those expressions. Get in the habit of thanking them on a regular basis. What that requires is that we are aware of the impact they are having and appreciating the growth we see within ourselves.

Express your gratitude early and often. That is generosity from your very soul.

Generosity – The spirit of giving

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The spirit of our generosity is seen in what we are willing to share with others from our personal talents. If we only think about giving or sharing being about money or things, we have missed the greatest joys found in giving of ourselves. Sharing the talents we have, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem to us, can bring someone in need just the lift they require.

Think for a few minutes about the talents that you have. Even if you are young, you may be able to read, sing, dance, color that could be shared with a younger sibling, a parent, grandparent, a friend. If you knew someone who was sick, do you have the talent of baking or cooking a special dish that could be shared and appreciated?

Another way of enjoying the talent and generosity of others is to think about those special people in your life that have shared things with us. Instead of taking what they have done for granted, think back to the individual who shared with you how to ride a bike, roller skate, swim, read, dance. All of these were acts of generosity. You may have been on a talented team that helped raise money, or performs a job.

I think back on several events in my life being a part of a team that gave what we had to help others as some of the best memories in my life. Going to Kenya with a team from “Think Kindness” to share with those living in an orphanage. Attending several times work in Greensboro, Alabama with martial artists from around the world rebuilding, renovating and helping individuals and the community. So many hands working together created such joy in the community and within ourselves.

The spirit of generosity whether practiced as an individual, as a family or on a team helps us to give and receive abundantly.