• Luke Towning

The Best Advice for a Child

Listened to a great podcast last week.

It was with ex-footballer, Robin Van Persie.

The part that stuck out most was when he started talking about being a parent.

His son, Shaqueel, is clearly a pretty good footballer.

He is at Feyenoord’s academy in Holland (same place his Dad started).

Van Persie started talking about a recent match where his son didn’t even get off the bench against their arch rivals, Ajax.

Shaqueel was gutted and moaned to his dad about anyone or anything to blame on why he didn’t play.

Now, you might think the easy thing to do would be for his Dad to use his reputation to maybe give his son an advantage.

Perhaps he might make a little complaint to the powers that be so his son starts the next the game.

Van Persie didn’t do any of these things.

Instead he had a chat with his son on the way home about how his son was blaming everyone and everything…

…but himself.

Part of what he said is in the picture above.

Can you see how powerful this is?

In other words he is telling Shaqueel to control what he can control.

Things like how hard he works, his attitude, how much is willing to practise and how he will react to disappointments.

We live in a time where it’s so easy for us parents to email a complaint to school, groups or clubs when our children have a set-back or something didn’t go there way.

So hearing something like this was brilliant and can teach us a lot.

Your child learns nothing when you solve their problems for them.

They develop no resilience, confidence or character.

- Child didn’t get picked for the team? I’ll complain.

- Child didn’t get Star of the Week at their football class? I’ll email them so you’ll get it next time.

When they’re not happy about something they can simply tell their parents and all will be well.

Do you see why that could have such a negative impact longer-term?

There will always be exceptions to the rule, of course.

But generally, asking your child what they can do to solve their problems and empowering them to do so is amazing for them on so many different levels.

You create a winners mentality.

One that can deal with setbacks and learns from failure.

Not a loser who cries to mummy & daddy every time they don’t get their own way.

So, how did Shaqueel react?

In his Dad’s words, ‘At his next training session I watched him and he was like a Tiger!’.

Love it.

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