Let Life Teach

Here’s a golden nugget from Ann Arbor’s Dr. Dan Saferstein’s little book, Win or Lose:  A Guide to Sports Parenting:

“Most of us have an easier time being math parents than we do being sports parents.  We don’t stand over our children as they’re doing their homework, hollering at them to round to the highest decimal or carry their zero.  We trust that they’ll be able to figure things out on their own, and if they can’t, they’ll get the help they need from their teachers or by asking us.

“What a lot of sports parents seem to forget is that young athletes also need the same space to figure things out on their own.  They need to learn how to think and make decisions during game situations, which isn’t easy to do when your parent (or someone else’s parent) is shouting out directions.

“The reality is that if your child could score a goal or stop a defender, he would.  In most cases, telling your child to move faster to the ball is like telling him to be taller.  Effort isn’t the only critical factor in sports, or in math.  Some children will never be high-level athletes no matter how hard they try, which is by no means a tragedy.  The world doesn’t necessarily need more gymnastics, softball or soccer stars.  It needs more young people who are willing to try and make our world a better place.”

Go to dansaferstein.com for more good stuff from the good doctor.


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About the Author

Jack Roberts

Jack Roberts has been at the helm of the MHSAA as its Executive Director since 1986, implementing programs and overseeing tournament administration and regulations for the Association which boasts 1,500 member schools, 10,000 registered officials and 13,000 head coaches.

During the last 44 years, Roberts has spoken to educator and athletic groups, business leaders and civic groups in almost every state and five Canadian provinces. He is one of the nation's most articulate advocates for educational athletics.

Roberts has served on the board of directors of the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO), is in his second term on the board of the National Federation of State High School Associations, and is the first chairman of the NFHS Network board of directors. He has been board president for the Refugee Development Center for seven years, and is a past-chair of the board of directors of the Michigan Society of Association Executives. He is vice chair and secretary of the board of trustees for the Capital Region Community Foundation.

He is a 1970 graduate of Dartmouth College, where he played defensive safety for the Ivy League's winningest football team during that span, and he sang in Dartmouth's close harmony vocal group.

His wife, Peggy, has retired from a 30-year career in social services, and is serving as president of the board of the Fenner Nature Conservancy in Lansing.