Living the Dream: The Influence of Parents on their Children's Lives

Editor's Note: When an athlete takes on a coaching responsibility, he is much more than just a coach; he acts as a mentor, role model, friend, and confidant. Most coaches spend three hours a day with their players during the athletic season and interact with their players during the off-season. With the amount of time coaches spend with kids, AthletesLTD is glad that there are coaches like Mike Grant Jr. Mike is a role model for his athletes and is taking responsibility for teaching and shaping the next generation of athletes and role models. Currently, AthletesLTD is working on an initiative to unite coaches, athletes, and other public figures to help guide and uplift youth athletes. Read about how adults and coaches shape youth athletes lives. 

The Influence of Parents on their Children's Lives

By Mike Grant Jr.

Twitter: elomenopeee
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For as long as I can remember, I have always been a speak-before-I-think type of person. Recently, however, I have discovered the important role that patience plays when developing certain skills and self-discipline. Being mindful of my patience has enhanced my ability to research information thoroughly and strategically create plans. It also allows me to prepare for challenges that come my way and to hold myself—and others—to a higher standard. That being said, I believe that adults, especially parents, must work tirelessly to provide the very best opportunities to younger generations using a similar mentality.

For a number of years, I have had the pleasure of working with students as a lead program coordinator. This position allows me to build guidelines for my students that lead them to success. I have also trained and mentored athletes to provide an abundance of athletic information and help produce competitive business minds.

Years ago, my mother and grandparents took in a handful of foster children. This experience has helped develop my love for helping others because I have been accustomed to it my entire life. I have witnessed children being moved from home to home for reasons they don't understand, which definitely gave them a different outlook on life from a very early age.

During my time working in schools, I come in contact with many parents who look at school as a sort of daycare. Many lack interest in their child's academic pursuits, which often results in poor classroom behavior. This can create multiple issues, including the disruption of other students, a lack of motivation, and most importantly, a lack of preparation for the next level in life. On the other hand, I have worked with many hard working, goal-driven parents, including single parents who have the work ethic of two people.

I absolutely believe that teaching children manners, respecting their elders, and other similar standards must be valued. We must also take time to research and plan which schools or programs will help our children excel. This is important because of the sheer amount of time teachers spend with their students during their formative years. Teachers are positioned to teach a curriculum in an organized environment that prepares students for the next grade level and, ultimately, life. We must all try hard to positively influence the children in our lives and surround them with the best possible opportunities. Teach them manners, strengthen their morals, and create boundaries that affirm these standards.

When it comes to sports, parents must be their children’s biggest fans and supporters. Signing kids up for athletic competitions is a great way to help instill teamwork, discipline, and some structure into their daily lives—but it shouldn't end there. Parents must follow through by attending practices or even volunteering to be a team mom or dad when schedules permit. It is also a great idea to help out with the snack bar, work the ticket booth, or become involved in a number of other program-related responsibilities. They can also be a positive example by expressing commitment, passion, and a belief in exceeding expectations of themselves.

This mentality is not exclusive to sports, however. Children can be involved in the school play, the math club, or even the science fair. Parents can sometimes underestimate the value of support in these activities. Having the opportunity to become their children’s very first role model, parents are the first to be able to set standards and boundaries for their children to live by. Before children become old enough to idolize entertainers or athletes they should already know who the real heroes are. Being too tired cannot be an excuse to disregard your child's ambitions.

Obviously, everybody has his or her own perspective on parenting. Parents have the best first-hand perspective of how to deal with their children. What they may not have, however, is a third-person perspective of their own children—although many have multiple suggestions on how other parent’s children should behave. Being raised within foster care systems and group homes, I have had the advantage of seeing and listening to what life is like for children who do not know their parents. Many biological parents in this situation are strung out on drugs or just voluntarily gave up their children. As rough as that may sound, many of these children grow up to rule the world in so many ways because of a chip on their shoulders—an underdog spirit. It must be understood, however, that these kids do not become successful without the help, support, and unconditional love that they receive from foster parents. When children feel as if they have nothing, it makes pursuing better days tougher. When they feel as if they have no one, it makes it tough to survive.

I am expressing this to say it that a child’s living situation should not hinder his or her ability to succeed. I have witnessed many children grow to be great, hard-working, business savvy individuals. Don't just follow the normal. Be an extraordinary parent. Proudly correct your child's homework, attend back-to-school night, drive them to soccer games, help fundraise for their school play, help with their golf swing, set scholarly standards, or just simply enjoy an exciting family vacation. When it seems as if it doesn't matter, it does to them. Appreciate what you were responsible for creating and be a great influence.