Please forgive me if I have the word evacuate on my mind; I’ve been hearing it a lot lately here in Southwest Florida. When to evacuate has been a huge topic of discussion ever since we got wind of Hurricane Irma’s coming.
Did you evacuate?
Where did you evacuate to?
How long were you gone?
Of course the biggest question is still, do you have your power back?
As I write this, I’m still in the minority of folks who do not yet have power. I’m hoping that when this post goes live, I do!
But as I thought about evacuations, and why people leave, my mind turned to the evacuations that often happen in youth sports.
In hurricane situations, people evacuate because they fear for their safety. In certain situations where evacuations are mandatory, I totally get it. But I’ve survived several hurricanes in my life and my parents never thought to evacuate. They chose instead to board up and ride it out.
Those that left the city–even the state–evacuated out of fear for their safety or comfort.
And I think that happens often in youth sports as well. Parents and kids “evacuate” teams, schools, leagues, even cities because they are afraid of something or do not want to face uncomfortable circumstances.
There are certainly reasons to “evacuate” in youth sports, but I feel there are way too many families “evacuating” for the wrong reasons.
When to Evacuate: Good Reasons
These reasons call for post-season evacuations. Not mid-season.
The team culture is not healthy for your child.
Ideally, you’ve done your homework and learned about the team before you sign your child up to play, but if you didn’t and you discover that you just cannot agree with the team’s philosophies, then a post-season evacuation is definitely in order. Don’t just choose a team because it’s convenient, be picky about what’s best for your child’s growth and development.
The parental influence is negative.
Politics, negative parenting, or parents whose goals for their children do not align with yours–these are good reasons to find another team.
The coaches are not helping your child grow and develop.
Even if the team atmosphere is positive, if your child is not becoming a better player and person because of his experience with his coaches, then find a team where he has a better chance of reaching his physical and emotional potential.
Your child is being bullied.
If you confront the problem with the perpetrators or the coaches and nothing is done, then it’s time to remove your child from the situation. I’d say it even calls for a mid-season evacuation.
You fear for your child’s safety.
If the coaches are not properly trained or there is little attention to safety concerns, move on!
When to Evacuate: Bad Reasons
Your child is uncomfortable.
There are many reasons that your child may experience discomfort. Perhaps she’s not getting the playing time she wants, the position she desires, or the recognition she feels she deserves. Or maybe he doesn’t understand his coach or some of his teammates.
No doubt, these are uncomfortable situations. But they do not require an evacuation. If your child gets into the habit of running every time he faces a tough situation, then evacuating will become his default and he will never learn the value of growing stronger through the storms.
You are uncomfortable.
Parents may be uncomfortable with the coach’s philosophy or personality, or with annoying parents on the team. I can’t count the number of times I felt uncomfortable about my kids’ coaches or teams. But I knew that my discomfort was based on a very biased parental viewpoint. I love my kids and only what the smoothest circumstances for them and when that doesn’t happen, I cringe in discomfort and would love nothing better than to whisk them away to safety.
It has been said that sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same. Facing a giant head on instead of fleeing is most certainly not the easiest thing to do. But habitual evacuations will result in weak character development and that is not what any parent wants for a child.
Are you struggling to decide if an evacuation is in order? As a life coach, parenting coach, and sports mom for 22 years, I know I can help you. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s talk.