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'Father, Why do they whistle and insult them? '. This phrase was released to me by my son when he observed that the people on the soccer field whistled at the rival team when they went out to warm up. My answer was: 'I think they don't know why they are being whistled, probably for wearing another shirt.' To which he replied: 'Well, what nonsense, right? So are we the bad guys? ' At that moment, I didn't know what to say; 'Well, maybe yes, son.'
This little conversation I had with my son when I first took him to see a soccer game. I think this was a strange but enriching experience for me, since I was able to learn valuable lessons of education and respect that I can apply in the different areas of my day to day.
One of the things I remember fondly from when I was a child are those days when my father took me to my team's stadium to watch a football game or a tennis or basketball tournament, which have always been the sports that I have liked the most. Although my son loves swimming, surfing and skating, he also appreciates soccer from his innocent vision, as he might appreciate a game that is organized in the schoolyard.
He had been asking me to attend a football game at the stadium for some time. I really felt like it, so I bought some tickets, with the luck that I was invited to a meeting prior to the one I was going to go with my son.
After attending that game, I doubt very much if I should take him to the field. What I could see in the stands is far from what a sporting event should be: people shouting, insulting, whistling ... An aggressive behavior inappropriate for educated and balanced people.
I was able to observe not only adults, but also children insulting, yelling, cursing and wishing evil on opponents, with the approval of the parents. In some cases, the father's smiling face was seen, which is embarrassing because it reinforces that behavior. And in other cases, they didn't say anything, which is just as bad, because normalize those actions.
In this case, anything that is not reprimanding the children's attitude is not valid, and of course, we must set an example. We have to show our children the benefits and values that sport transmits, and not the rage and anger that it arouses in other people.
With all this, I returned home thinking about what should I do: What should I do? Can I take you? Cancel? Am I protecting you too much?
In the end I decided to take him, but before the game I had a conversation with the boy. I explained what we were going to see and how our behavior should be. For this I took into account the following considerations:
1. How I behave in the stadium
The first thing I did was check my behavior in a stadium. I could see that at times I also used to yell angrily, so I concentrated on controlling it so as not to be a bad example for my son.
2. Anticipating what we were going to see
I decided that it would be best to explain clearly what was going to happen. I told him that there are people who get angry, who insult, yell, who are aggressive, etc.
3. Reinforce our behavior
We made it clear that we were only going to cheer and that we were not going to mess with the referee or the opposing team.
We talked about what we would do if we fell into one of these wrong behaviors. We reached an agreement that, if at any time he passed, he had to tell the other and apologize. Well, in the end, I had to apologize a couple of times, and he didn't.
Sports shows are wonderful because they involve a lot to the emotions, but even letting ourselves be carried away by these, we must not lose education, and even less show bad education in front of our children.
This post was born after having a conversation with one of my colleagues, Daniel de Miguel, after his first experience of taking to a soccer stadium. As it happened to me, surely you too can come to feel very identified.
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