Many children have role models in their lives and people they aspire to be like. A lot of these said people are popstars, actors and TV personalities, but what about the many sports stars of our generation? It can be surprising how little some children know about these particular people, and they can be greatly overshadowed in our world.
Athletes are a fine example of hard work, determination, self-belief, motivation and self-discipline (amongst MANY other positive traits), and I believe these are the kind of role models we should be encouraging our children to look up to. As we know, children can be easily influenced to believe the ‘rock and roll’ lifestyle of a popstar for example is how they should be when they grow up. But what if we encouraged the healthy, balanced lifestyle an athlete has instead, resulting in many benefits.
Many superstar athletes have come from a less privileged background, having taken every ounce of desire and optimism for them to progress in their sport. They have had to devote hours out of their day to train and may have had many set backs they have had to overcome to get to where they are today, which teaches our children the importance of not giving up when life throws difficulties at us.
I suggest asking your child what their favourite sport is, or which sport they show an interest in, and then providing them with an example role model from that chosen sport to research. For example, take the boxer Nicola Adams. She was the first woman to win a boxing title in the Olympics in 2012, and since then she has continued to progress and achieve many great things. Although Nicola had a difficult upbringing, it didn’t stop her on her mission to succeed. Many say that boxing gave her something to focus on, whilst building her willpower and determination, and Nicola herself says that her after school boxing club was like a little family.
This could encourage your child to take part in an after school club they previously felt too shy to join, or one they thought they wouldn’t be good enough to join as other children have had more experience in it than them. But by providing a better understanding of the journey the athletes we all see in the newspapers and on the television have been on, it should encourage them to believe that anyone is capable of anything if they set their minds to it and that sport has no limitations or boundaries on who can and cannot take part.
I believe it can only be a positive thing to educate our children on such role models, giving them an insight into another world which they may not be familiar with. Yes, sport is great for keeping our children’s bodies healthy, but it can be so much more than that! So why not encourage your child to admire a certain athlete – you never know, they could turn out to be the next Andy Murray or Kelly Holmes! Who says the possibilities aren’t endless… certainly not me!