As I bask in the glory of post Grand Final elation, I begin to wonder why football means so much to me and my family. (some of the members anyway). What is it that has us out in rain or hail, turning up every week and planning our yearly calendar around a game that has grown men running around after a rather oddly shaped ball?
What I came up with was a whole range of reasons. And with that was a whole range of reasons why football makes me a better parent and is hopefully teaching my children some very valuable life lessons. I know I have many friends who just dont “get it”, so here now is my attempt to enlighten you with the things football has given me and will hopefully continue to give to my kids for many years to come.
1. Elation, Jubilation and Joy: this one I am still well in the midst of less than 24 hours after celebrating my teams 3rd Grand Final win in 5 years. Having something in our lives that brings such happiness can only be a great thing.
2. Pride: Along with that joy comes pride. The pride of belonging to a club, of feeling part of a team and a valued member of a community is a notion that should be fostered and instilled in our kids. To have pride in achievements, effort and accomplishments both as an individual and a as team is one way of ensuring that one will always try their best whilst remaining humble and respectful towards those around them.
3. Determination : Anyone that follows any sport knows that it is not always about successes and victories. As a football supporter I have witnessed many losses and experienced times when it was sometimes plain hard to watch. But it is those losses that make the victories all the more sweet. It is that determination to improve, to keep trying and to never give up that are the valuable lessons that should be adapted to all areas of ones life.
4. Resilience and coping skills: With those losses comes a need to move on from the disappointments, to rise again after a fall and to keep things in perspective. Life will constantly throw us challenges that may not always be conquered. One needs the skills to guide them through those challenges and losses in order to eventually succeed and get the most out of their lives.
5. Connection: Football for myself has been a great ‘connector’ for my family. It is something that we do together every week. It is something that we talk about, get happy about, get sad about, but ultimately is something that will always provide a deep connection. I know it is one subject I can always communicate with my boys about and will always provide us with endless material to dicuss, argue and rejoice over.
6. Stress Release: For me as a mother of 5, football has always been a way for me to have something that I enjoy outside of the home or the workplace. It allows me to cheer and cry and sometimes get angry. It allows me to forget about the daily grind and enjoy the moment. It allows me to yell really loud without wondering if the neighbours can hear.
Football has taught us how to be passionate, how to be humble, how to ge grateful, to be patient, resilient and proud.It has even had the added bonus of teaching my children their 6 times table.
But it is also teaching my boys that it is OK for grown men to shed a tear, to give each other a hug and to be completely open, honest and transparent with their feelings and emotions.
What are your passions and interests that help make you a better parent?