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Embracing Integrity and Sportsmanship: 3 Ways Parents Can Lead By Example


We have an important role to play in our children's sport activities; and I'm not just talking about the money, driving, and time it takes! We can be an invaluable source of support and guidance for our kiddos as they grow in their skills and love for the game. It’s vital to understand that having positive sportsmanship, as a parent, not only sets an example for our children; but it also allows them to enjoy the game in a more stress-free environment. None of this is to say that kids shouldn't give it all they have, train well, and be aggressive for the prize. Of course they should press on towards the mark. There are many verses that speak to running the race with endurance. That's a whole different blog. This is a heart to heart with parents and how we steward our kids' character outside the home, in a sports setting. Here are three ways that we as parents can lead by example with integrity and sportsmanship at games:


1. Stay Positive and Respectful towards your child and their teammates

2. Lead By Example With Good Sportsmanship

3. Respond with Integrity towards Referees and Coaches



1. Stay positive and encouraging to your child and their teammates


As parents, we have the chance to empower our kids and their teammates with an uplifting presence at their sporting events. Showing encouragement for effort rather than outcome of the game is key. Positive words and constructive feedback can go a long way in developing both their confidence and skills on the field or court. In addition, we should show respect and encouragement for all involved players, and demonstrate integrity at every event! We never know when another player has family who are not positive and may even be harsh with their words towards their kid. Being positive and encouraging models to our kids, and teaches them what that fruit of the spirit looks like. It also instills in them a heart for others. This can be a powerful tool for them within their games as well. They can be tough and aggressive on the court or field, while at the same time, showing a heart like Jesus to those around them. 



2. Lead With Good Sportsmanship


Playing sports provides opportunities to teach valuable lessons, both in victory and defeat. For those of us who spent countless hours on the court or field throughout our young lives, we understand that while losses can be heartbreaking, they are just part of life’s journey. In the end, it's just a game. I know that sentence may not go over well with some parents. The truth is though, most kids won't play beyond high school. That's not to say I don't love a good win! We must keep in mind though, there are more pressing, eternity related cares that a parent should have.

Sportsmanship is a key part of demonstrating Christlike conduct and setting an example for our children. Here are just some ways that we can show good sportsmanship:

1. Stay composed in all game-related situations.

2. Remember your reactions reflect what's in your heart.

3. Use caution to avoid becoming too involved with the game - although it can be difficult not to get swept up by emotions! This one is a hard one for me. I love basketball! I get to hootin' and a hollerin' for the team, and I will holler things for them to do - Shoot! Rebound! Defense! Steal the ball! Watch number 23! The list goes one. It's not a bad thing to get excited and be a cheerleader for your kiddo and the team. It is however an issue if it gets in the way of what the coach is trying to tell them to do. I'm working on containing my excitement!

4. When we lead with good sportsmanship, it will set high standards for the other parents and spectators, and we can hope that it will spread throughout and light a fire of absolute kindness at the end of it all. 



3. Respond with Integrity towards Referees and Coaches


This could fit into the category of positive sportsmanship; however, from what I see all the time, it needs it's own category. 


Our kids are always observing and learning from us, so let's lead by example! Even when referees make calls that we don't agree with, respect for them is essential. We must remember that we, like they, are all human. Mistakes can sometimes happen in the heat of a game or just in the intensity and movement. We have a different angle, thus a different perspective. Yelling at them won’t help our cause; rather it could tarnish our image and set an unhealthy precedent to those around us, especially our children who look up to us as role models! Let's take this opportunity instead to show self-control amid disagreement and remain calm under pressure.


Parents should also treat coaches with respect, understanding that their decisions are intended to benefit all of the players in the game. They often have tough calls to make, and they need parent support and encouragement.




By staying positive and leading by example, parents can be champions of sportsmanship at their kid's games! Modeling integrity and superior behavior provides a safe and enjoyable experience for all involved. Not only that, you'll set an amazing standard to other spectators who want the same respect & dignity while cheering on our superstars! So let your enthusiasm show because it makes such a difference in creating this special atmosphere we all love with every sporting event. Go team go!!


Let us know in the comments how you demonstrate good sportsmanship and integrity at your child's events. We'd love to hear from you!



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