The old adage “there is no “I” in team” applies to both families and parenting. A baseball club is a finely tuned athletic machine, a community comprised of unique individuals who have banded together. With the right systems in place, solid leadership will foster player buy-in and lead to positive results everyone will feel good about.
When a MLB player does not beat out a ground ball, the team suffers. The manager of the Toronto Blue Jays will go grey if this batter stops running or lightly jogs towards first base. Giving up on the play while it is still in progress turns a manager’s stomach and demoralizes the entire bench. Baseball teams often use a kangaroo court to police themselves by imposing a fine if one commits an infraction deemed detrimental to the team, such as not sprinting hard “out of the box” to first. Coaches or upper management may need to take different disciplinary action. This could result in penalties, being benched for a game or even a demotion.
The family franchise operates much like the inner workings of a baseball one. In both cases, rules and expectations must be clearly communicated. Confusion will arise for parents and children when consistent follow through is not evident.
12-year-old Vicky constantly walks by the garbage, which is overflowing in the kitchen. Mom gets upset and Vicky responds with equal and additional dismay. Vicky contends that all mom had to do was ask and she would have cleared and replaced the old garbage bag. Vicky has ample time to text, go on YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat. Where is the initiative, the responsibility and the sense of the family unit, the team?
The accountability lies with parents and lack of a deliverable plan. Why should Vicky contribute to household chores when their importance was not instilled during her formative years? Vicky breezes by the garbage, piles of clean laundry and the dishwasher because she can. It is far easier to absorb shouting, knowing that parents will complete the task.
Strong parenting demands a style where both parents embrace and deliver a clear plan. For instance, had Vicky kept her head up as she rounded first base, she would have noticed that the ball got misplayed and would have accelerated towards second base. Anticipating the play before it happens represents buying into the game plan, paying attention and following through. Parenting and coaching require the proper modeling at the outset to impart the foundation.