It’s a story we hear multiple times a year.
Athlete is disciplined.
Athlete goes home to tell parent a version of a story.
Then, before going to the source, before verifying the story, before taking a deep breath, parent goes to social media, riles up a mob of followers (most of whom have no dog in the fight), and ties the coach to the proverbial post.
Coach is sent a screen shot.
Coach calls parent for a meeting.
Parent’s tone is completely different than the online post. (Weird.)
Things are worked out in a calm, collected, and mature fashion.
Everyone is good.
Except not. Because the damage has been done, the reputation has been created, the mob has begun to assemble. What was meant to be an issue between two parties is now a community-wide one.
And here’s the thing, we get it. We, the wives of these men, live with them everyday. If anyone knows they make mistakes, it’s us. We aren’t saying they will always be right. We aren’t defending them by saying they will always make the best decision in every situation.
If anyone knows they’re human, it’s us.
But here’s what else we know. They love your kid. The vast majority of them are doing their best to teach and love and educate and mature your child. They want what is best for him. Their goal is to make her the best athlete and human she can be.
And maybe it’s not the method you would like best, but at the very least, before you take your anger to the mobs, give them an opportunity to discuss.
In this age of rage texting and keyboard warriors, let’s teach our children a valuable lesson: when you have an issue with someone, you take the issue directly to that person. You don’t stop by Facebook or Twitter along the way. You deal with it in person. You have open dialogue. You make yourself available to listen, not just talk. Period.
Otherwise, all you’re doing is asking people who love you, agree with most everything you say (otherwise they wouldn’t be seeing the post), and don’t know the truth to affirm your opinions and jump on board a bandwagon of anger. You are sparking fires not only in your own heart but in the hearts of those reading it.
The real question is, who does this help? Not you. Not your student. Not the coach. Not the school. And most certainly, not the morale of the team.
It causes division, mistrust, negativism, and anger. Your kid begins to doubt his coach, his teammates, and his passion.
And isn’t the whole point of sports to teach kids character? Let him be taught!
Just like there was ten years ago, there’s still a chain of command. If you are upset, go to the coach; then, to the Athletic Director; then, to the administrators. To social media, never.
If we can’t do it, how can we expect our kids to do it? If for no other reason, let’s teach them how to handle conflict effectively before they go out into this overwhelmed, stressed out, anxious world. And until then, let’s do our best to make the world kinder for their grand entrance.