This week in classes we will be talking to the students about how a key component to sportsmanship is playing by the rules. We all know that rules are in place as a way of keeping things safe and fair- be it our roads we drive on, a baseball game or even the 5th grade spelling bee. Certain standards and expectations are laid out and others are expected to follow. As a parent we work hard to instill these important values in our kids; and for the most part we are doing a really good job too. But are we really practicing what we preach?
Ever sped up at a yellow light to make it through before it turns red? Ever crossed the street outside of the designated crosswalk path? Every said your child was 9 when he is really 10 just to get him into an amusement park at the cheaper rate? What about going 60 on the Highway even though the speed limit is clearly posted as being 55? Wait you might be thinking, these are not GAME rules. No they aren’t but they are still established standards that we are expected to respect, just like we expect our kids to wait their turn during kick ball, or that a 16 year old boy will not be on the defense line ready to squash your little 10 year old quarterback.
Face it… you are a rule breaker! We do these types of “nuances” all the time in our everyday life and most of the time we don’t even think about them. We understand that not everything is black and white and give ourselves some wiggle room to bend a few rules from time to time. And I am willing to bet that not once when you have done these things did you ever think that you might be sending a message to your children that you don’t always have to follow the rules; yet that is exactly what we are doing!
By definition, good sporting behavior means playing a game by the rules, respecting those rules, and being courteous to teammates, the referee, and the other team. It is important to make sure that children understand the rules, but even more so that they follow them. If they see us breaking the rules, even slightly, from time to time when it is convenient or we are late or the crosswalk just seems so far away… they too will be quick to do the same and make their own justifications as to why it is okay. Something to think about the next time you’re ready to push the pedal harder when the traffic light turns yellow.