The season is halfway through, but your child doesn’t want to play on the team anymore. The other players are having difficulty showing up for all the agreed practices and the games haven’t been going well. Quitting right now would be so easy! Rather than using the circumstances as reasons to quit, our goal as parents is to build character and teach our kiddos what it means to finish strong. The trick is to explain what that really means in a way our kids can understand.
“I didn’t sign up for this” can seem like a great reason to quit a sports team or even life. When situations get hard, or unexpected circumstances come our way, giving up can sound like a great idea.
How can the idea of “finishing strong” spur our kids on when they can no longer meet their goal, win the race or when their team isn’t going to the championship? Check out these mantras, or principles, to talk through with our children to help them to keep going through tough times.
In Our Family We Follow Through on Our Commitments.
That can be relayed something like this but in your own words: “When you look back at the end of the season, you don’t want to wonder what would have happened if you had done your part. Think about the team agreement you signed or the introductory meeting you attended. What did the coach say that motivated you to become a part? In our family, we follow through on our commitments. Finishing strong means keeping your word, doing what you said you would do, even when things aren’t going your way. Simply put, just keep showing up at the assigned time.
We Remember and Re-discover the Excitement from the Beginning of the Season to Help Propel Us Towards the Finish.
What part of the sport made you want to join in and play? What about that part do you enjoy the most? Rekindling the original flame that sparked an interest can be just the right tool to keep you moving through to the end of the season. Remember the progress you’ve experienced throughout the weeks or months and use it as building material for the next phase.
Our Family Does the Best We Can with What We Have.
Last track season, my daughter was injured during the second meet of the season and couldn’t participate for weeks. She couldn’t run or do anything active and staying home made a lot of sense. But she chose to attend the meets anyway and in doing so, she found herself cheering on everyone else. It wasn’t what she had planned to do when she signed up, but she discovered she really enjoyed seeing others meet their goals and encouraging them. Finishing strong didn’t mean she crossed the finish line; it meant she supported her team.
Always ask yourself: What is the best thing I can do in this situation? How can I help my team, no matter the circumstances?
We Ask the Lord for Strength Beyond Our Abilities.
Samson is known as the strongest man in the Bible. Without diving in to all the details, his phenomenal strength was also his demise. At the end of his life, he asked God for power beyond his own abilities, just one last time. God granted his request and Samson had revenge on his enemies. While our children may not receive physical strength, as Samson did, God always answers our prayers. His promise to provide strength may come in the form of emotional strength to handle the difficulties or mental strength for clarity in the situation. God doesn’t always provide strength in the way we ask, but He does promise to provide. He is our strength.
My prayer is that one or more of these ideas has encouraged you to help your child practice finishing strong and that you feel empowered as a parent to help them keep going, even when life is hard.
A great story of enduring hard times is Gobi, a Little Dog with a Big Heart!
Prepare to fall in love with the heartwarming and true story of Gobi and Dion. Gobi, a scrappy little stray dog, latches onto a man named Dion and keeps pace alongside him for 77 miles of a long 155-mile race across China. Through cold nights and raging rivers, with little food and water, and through a long, hard journey, these two create a bond unlike any other.
Cross the finish line with Gobi and Dion, the little pup who never quit and the ultramarathon runner who loves her. This amazing true story sparked international attention and will continue to inspire readers as they enjoy this fun picture book perfect for children.
Join these two unlikely friends as they form a winning team for both the race and life!
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When have you or your kids struggled with finishing strong? How have you tried to show the importance of perseverance? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!
For Older Readers…
Another great kids' book on Finishing Strong...