Which role models are in your child’s bibliotheca?
Off the back of the Nick Kyrgios show at Wimbledon earlier this year, the whole debate about high profile sports people and their responsibilities to society has come up again. Our young sports kids (and adults) watch these athletes and teams on telly and they buy the shirts with the name on the back, they emulate their every move on the court or field and they walk out of the barber with the same lines etched into their head or the same fringe ready to flick back after scoring a goal. I think it’s great to look up to these athletes and to be inspired by them. As parents and sports coaches however, I think we have a responsibility to ensure our young people have a rounded approach to the sports people they look up to. Not only do we need to openly discuss with our kids what they witness on the television both the positive and negative but we should also encourage them to ‘collect’ role models like we collect books or CD’s (for those of us that don’t download everything).
My book shelf is full of amazing biographies, reference books and a couple novels. The topics vary a little; sport, business and behavioural economics. There is mountain loads of great stuff in all of these book and over the years I’ve dipped in and out of them more than once and taken the bits that I like or that have been particularly useful at the time. There isn’t one sole book on the shelf that is the sole provider for all of my enjoyment or learning experiences. I make one exception being the Bible but I think you get where I’m coming from here. I take the good bits from a multitude of authors, athletes, business people and I use them to compliment and enhance my own life experiences to help shape who I am and how I view the world.
By encouraging our young people to have numerous role models and by having open and honest conversations about what they witness and why athletes might be behaving the way they are, could it help them to be a bit selective in how they allow themselves to be influenced? By asking our kids questions and seeking their opinions on what they are watching could we perhaps even learn a thing or two ourselves? Just watching sport with your kids can be fun but it can also provide heaps of opportunities to really engage with them and discuss topics such as role models….during the adverts of course!
It’s great to listen to your kids rattle off the people they are inspired by but how much greater would it be if the next time they are asked that question they respond with…YOU?