In my latest podcast episode, the 10th in my series, I turn the conversation to the important topic of GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP in the ongoing education and raising of our children. In my educational experience, there have been a number of behavioral qualities that, if socialized appropriately, can contribute a great deal to the development of a child’s character. Often, the lessons that are learned at a young age and the character and qualities that children develop early will carry with them throughout their entire lives. When good sportsmanship is part of a child’s behavior, good things will come out of that, and when good sportsmanship is not present, the personality that is being shaped can be more troubling.
I tell the story about one family who were very sports oriented. The children in that family were quite skilled at sports and they all eventually earned scholarship as a result of their skills. This family, however, promoted competitive athletics, but they never leaned heavily on the competitive aspect of the games. It was always more important to them to just be your best self while participating in sports rather than having an emphasis on winning, and these children matured into nice, quality adults.
I also share another story about a child in my classroom who was not a good sport. He would simply quit in the middle of a game of cards if he wasn’t winning, leaving the other children in the game hanging. We had to make an agreement in my class and with this child who was a bad sport that if he left the game in the middle again, he could not play again. He agreed, but when presented with the opportunity to live up to his agreement, he didn’t even want to do that. Things escalated to an exchange with the boy’s parents, and I stood up for my principles because for one thing, my classroom had rules. The fact remains, however, that a child who is allowed to break agreements in that manner won’t respect agreements and social norms later in life.
One of my children’s paperbacks for social and emotional learning includes a story called GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP. It’s actually one of my favorite stories in my book series because it’s an important bit of nonfiction to which children should be exposed. The paperbacks and e-books in my series of socio-emotional picture books are all here on this website under the books tab, and they were all created to help busy parents have the tools and the language to support social and emotional learning at home or in schools… it’s my way of continuing to be of service in the field of education.