Most of us in Canada appreciate Tim-bits for their bite size shape and variety of yummy flavours, but we also widely recognize the name in youth sports. Tim-bits has become synonymous with fun, sport and youth development. It personifies the essence of being a child and the fearlessness that comes with innocence. Yet, I will point out a fundamental societal flaw in youth sport today which actually impedes fearless living.
Who has had children in soccer, hockey or other sport?
Isn’t it fun to watch as the little players chase the ball, or puck, like a school of Tuna chasing baitfish. Zigzagging back and forth, they chase the ball and somehow one of them scores on the other team, and the crowd (doesn’t go wild?). You see, parents are conditioned not to cheer, and there is no score in this game. You see, no one’s feelings will be hurt if there is no score. But it is at this critical juncture in a young life when feelings are nurtured, and forged through character-building defeat. These players are missing out on the accolades and acknowledgement of a win, and more importantly, they are missing out on the crucial life lessons from loss. There is a growing number of youth, parents and even ‘professional’ athletes who have not learned to accept loss.
Temper tantrums have become commonplace in professional sports, including the spectators, as well as the players.
About 70 years ago, Winston Churchill defined success as:
"Failing over and over again with no loss of enthusiasm."
Where are the crucial lessons of failure learned now? What is the impact on our children? What is the impact on our society, on our world?
In the spring, I helped organize a splash n dash event at the local pool. During the run my friend’s young daughter stumbled, and skidded to a painful stop on the concrete sidewalk. Tears swelled up in her eyes and you could see she was hurt and even embarrassed. My friend began to move toward his little girl – a natural urge; but something stopped him and allowed the space she required. He watched attentively as she stood up and dusted herself off. Her resilience grew ten-fold and empowerment flooded through her as she ran towards the finish line with a big, proud smile beaming across her face.
Remember, our Tim-bits are just smaller versions of us donuts...
Remember, our Tim-bits are just smaller versions of us donuts, and they learn a great deal about themselves at a very young and impressionable age. The fear of failure is invented, and as easily as it is constructed, it may be deconstructed. Together, we can empower our children with fearless living!