“I’m gonna miss practice. I have a hair appointment.”
My friend and I stared at each other in disbelief over her player’s text.
“Can you believe that?” said my friend who coaches high school girls.
“I can’t imagine telling my coach that,” I said. “I would’ve run laps for days.”
“And the thing is her mom is taking her.”
I empathized with my friend’s quandary. For 13 years, my husband and I have trained kids in sports performance. We’ve worked with parents who bring their child to us for two hours per week and expect us to kick little Billy’s butt so hard he sheds his baby weight two weeks before the season and magically gains fast feet and the stamina to pitch six games every weekend. Chances are little Billy will come to training having eaten a Toaster Strudel, cookies and fries for lunch and a cup of tomato soup after school. After his 10-minute warm-up, he’ll spend the remainder of workout bent over a waste basket. He leaves, and his parents will feed him a 1,500-calorie, high-fat, fast food dinner because it’s quick and convenient. We do our best to encourage Billy for the next few weeks, but when we talk to his parents about proper nutrition, they blame Billy and stop bringing him to workouts. It’s easy enough to find another trainer who will take their money without forcing them to examine how their decisions contribute to Billy’s performance.
On the flipside, I cannot count the times we have helped mom and/or dad lose weight through healthy eating yet when it comes to feeding their children, mom and dad settle for the same high-calorie, bad carbohydrate, high-fat foods they are eliminating. Why?
“We’re busy. It’s easier.”
“They’re kids. It doesn’t affect them.”
Who is the adult? Who are the decision-makers? Kids eat foods and drink drinks adults purchase. Kids model our behaviors in every area of life. If we don’t show up for appointments, if we waste peoples’ time and consistently cancel at the last minute, when we don’t do what we don’t feel like doing, when we gossip, when our heads are buried in our phones, why would we expect kids to act any differently?
How is our lack of extreme ownership of disservice to kids? The next time you catch yourself saying, “Kids these days,” take a hard look at what you encourage them to get away with.