Ezekiel Elliot and Chip Kelly both lost football games this past weekend, and they both came to the same conclusion about exactly why.
They were out-coached.
The nuance comes when you consider their roles. Elliot is a junior tailback for Ohio State and shared his thoughts in a post-game interview. He went to essentially quit on his team by announcing he was heading to the NFL despite having two games left and another year of eligibility.
Kelly, head coach and GM of the Philadelphia Eagles, made his comments at a similar press conference but in a moment of introspection, accountability and honesty. He then re-committed to fixing the problem.
- Is this an object lesson in maturity? Maybe
- A bad day for someone not used to adversity? Probably
But I think the real lessons for the rest of us reach well beyond the gridiron. How do we as parents raise kids in the “me” generation to be more Chip Kelly and less like Ezekial Elliot?
We do it by instilling in our kids three key things Chip Kelly’s generation understood well.
- Humble yourself and know your role
Sadly in 2015 entitled children and their enabling parents have missed this lesson. A teacher takes your child to task and your first inclination is to go fight the battle with that teacher on your child’s behalf. An official makes a poor call and you berate, then blame them for your team’s loss. Previous generations supported the teachers, coaches and other leaders and expected the same from their children.
- Win with class, lose with honor
Supporting your children is great, but somewhere on the bullet train to self-esteem we whiffed. Your job as a parent isn’t to become your child’s best friend and cheerleader, it is to prepare them for life outside your home. This means coping skills. Blaming others and a lack of empathy are natural inclinations but your job is to help your child un-learn them and adapt. Keep them humble in defeat and gracious in failure. Model the same (something this author needs to always remember)
- Team above self
Teach your kids that role-playing in sports and life is inevitable. A sixth man can be just as valuable as a starter. You can’t always be the star or take the game-winning shot. If your coach wants you to focus on defense, you accept it and do your best. If you coach buries you on the bench you accept the playing time you get and work harder at practice. Teach your child to put a chip on their shoulder and be willing to earn it the hard way. Expect adversity and adapt.
And all of this may seem intuitive to the point of being not even worth mentioning. But I completely disagree. As a nation we are raising way more Ezekial Elliots than Chip Kellys. And it is our job as parents is to ask why.