Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Do You Hate Your Child's Coach/Band Teacher/Scout Leader?

Dear Parent,

I know you don't want to hear this but it has to be said.

Stop Complaining.

Everybody is tired of hearing how you don't think your child's team is run the way you want it to or that your kid isn't first chair in the band but you think they ought to. Have you been to practice to see the daily effort your child gives? Have you volunteered to come offer some extra help to keep the group functioning so that the coach can spend the time coaching and not organizing fundraisers, organizing meals or scheduling the concession stand?

Having coached a variety of sports for the last few years, my husband and I are always surprised at the amount of complaining that goes on. You know that person in the stands talking to himself so loudly that everyone around can hear him, "This coach doesn't have any idea what he's doing...what is that coach thinking? Are we even watching the same game?" Many times this is the same person who drops off the kid at practice and shows up later to pick him up and often doesn't respond to texts or emails and probably doesn't help with fundraisers.

I've been criticized for the amount of time I spend volunteering because of how busy it makes me and my family and I'm not suggesting you have to be like me (because we might be just a little crazy) but let me tell you our family's philosophy on why we volunteer as much as we do. I can break it down into two sentences.

We promise to make our best efforts to improve a situation by volunteering to help rather than standing on the sideline complaining. If we aren't in a situation to offer help, we will do our best to not complain.

It's that simple. If you have something to complain about it, please approach the coach (but never before or during a practice or game/concert) and ask what you can do to help. I'm confident the coach will give you some suggestions on things you can do to improve your child's skills and confidence at home. Then you must do these things with your child! 

If you are unhappy with team management, the coach might ask you to speak with the team mom or another individual who can help direct your efforts in a positive way. Let your child see that you want to make a difference with the team by offering to donate the after game snack, carry the equipment or work in the concession stand. Come sit and watch practice and see what kind of effort your child is putting into practice. Positively encourage your child. Ask your child about their grades and hold them accountable when they don't maintain eligibility minimums.

And I beg of you...please don't talk bad about your coach (or anyone for that matter) because it is just disrespectful. Think about the time and effort that person is putting forth volunteering to coach your child whether you think they are doing a good job or not. At least they are trying. It is one thing to question your child, "why did the coach ask you to do that?" when you don't agree with a play or when your child complains about a drill he dislikes, "do you think there is a reason the coach is asking you to do that specific drill?" Start a conversation about teamwork, discipline, respect for leaders and leadership. Help your child be a problem solver for himself.

I'm all about encouraging our kids to speak their minds and to question what is asked of them (when appropriate) while at the same time being respectful and obedient and I'm well aware that my children aren't perfect. Our kids learn from watching us so pay attention and get involved. If you don't have time to help out, please keep your opinions to yourself. 

I Thank you on behalf of all teachers, coaches, music leaders, booster club or PTO presidents and volunteers everywhere.