Coaching your children and choosing a college by Debbie Love!!

Britni Love

This issue I want to talk about coaching my own children and the process of choosing a college or any important decision.  As a parent I have coached, educated and raised our 6 children. With this 24/7 job comes an array of challenges  which seem trivial compared to the blessings from this situation.  I have truly learned my children's individual personalities and ways with which to motivate them. I have studied their personality types and attempted to train them in methods that fit their personality.  It is not easy and the commitment of my time has been tremendous, but again the blessings outweigh any inconvenience.  When my children were young I read a book that had a little test in it which I took and all of my children rated as Mother Killers on the test.  I will say they have all had their challenging moments but I thoroughly have enjoyed being a Mom and raising my kids.  We definitely had our times in the back room away from the other children in the gym. But they are our children and both my husband and I are extremely strong willed. It is a really good quality in adults. 

  There are a few principles that I attempt to follow that I think have been successful most of the time.   The first one is I treat them no different than anyone else on the team.  They get no special privileges because they are mine. If you don't do this the other kids won't respect you or our children.  I have judged my own kids and many times I find I expect  much more from them than others. Another principle is to major on important issues. You can nag your children to death or choose your battles. There are some things you can let slide. We chose to work on ethics, morals and values. There was no choice in those matters. You mess up , you choose to accept the consequences.   Last principle is that when coaching my own I pretty much ignore them until they either ask for help or continue to mess up.  For instance this summer Britni  did a pass wrong 3 times. I asked her if she wanted my help. She said no so I didn't tell her. She then did it wrong again and came back and said Mom what do I do?  I then corrected it and she landed it.  We have also never had a huge amount of rules in our house. Respect for all in language and actions was demanded but I see that a lot of rules breeds rebellion because as a teenager I remember wanting to break every rule. You cannot force your opinion on your kids. They must choose to want it or it will not be effective. Instead we must be of such quality of character that they wish to be like us and therefore choose to listen.  You know the old saying- You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. We cannot run our kids lives or live our dreams through them. Our major job is from the day they are born to develop them into confident, independent adults. If we do this they develop their own adult wings and we must let them fly. I struggled with letting mine go early on because you just miss them. Lately I have matured and I enjoy them living their own lives and being successful on their own although empty nest is not by any means easy. It is an emotional roller coaster every time I visit with any of the children. But what a Blessing to see them flourish and grow into great adults. As far as college choice for Britni, I think I might have finally gotten it down after 6 of them. We talk a lot but I will not tell her what I want. It is her choice. She will make a great choice because she is a wise child like my others. We have looked at cheerleading at several schools and talked about the pros and cons of each. We have looked at expenses and how best to handle those.  The bottom line is she has to make the scores needed, but the choice is hers. Academically all the schools have programs that will fill her needs. As with our other children she will have success in college because of her discipline and other character qualities that breed success.  Finally the best advice I can give any parent whether you coach your own or not, your job is to support and love unconditionally each child you have been given the privilege of raising.  With God's help we can be successful even with all our flaws and mistakes.

- Debbie Love

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