“The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice.” (Peggy O’Mara)
If you’re a parent, a coach, or work with kids in any way, the above quote can be haunting.
It begs the question, what “inner voice” am I giving my children?
Some of you will be able to identify with this story from the Sports Parenting blog:
My husband remembers a time when as a high school football lineman, he scooped up a fumble and ran it in for a touchdown. And what did his dad have to say about that?
You sure run slow.
To this day, my husband remembers that negative remark. It is an inner voice that still screams at him. Why? Because his dad never apologized. Because it was indicative of his dad’s negative parenting. Because it confirmed his feelings that Dad was very very hard, if not impossible, to please.
If you’re in sports ministry, I hope you share the above quote with your coaches and parents. If you’ve been around kids much recently, you know that they are starving for affirmation. In a Christian environment, we can not only affirm a player’s skills and decision-making but also something more lasting: their identity in Christ. So, I’ll ask again, what kind of inner voice are you leaving to the children you interact with? What kind of voice do you want to leave them with?