What Nick Saban Taught Me About Parenting
Coaching Championship Children
Parenting is arguably the hardest job on the planet. Imagine working a job with 24-hour shifts, no days off, and after 18 years you might be eligible for partial retirement. That’s parenting. So, for those really tough days on the job, I take a few notes from Nick Saban’s playbook.
Yes, I said Nick Saban. Regardless of whether you cheer “Roll Tide,” “War Eagle,” or anything else, it’s hard to deny that the man knows what he’s doing when it comes to football. And, when you compare the two, parenting is a lot like coaching. As the coach of your children, you are responsible for teaching and training them to meet their full potential. They work and play by the rules you make.
Saban has a winning football program because he puts all of his efforts into achieving that end. That’s not to say that the talented players don’t help win those coveted championships, much like how some children are easier to raise. Still, football players and children both need a fearless leader to guide them. Some need a little more tough love than others, but they all need a role model who cares deeply about them and their future.
While Saban may be tough on his players, they respect him. It’s evident in the players’ press interviews and in their body language on the field that they respect him. At the same time, they don’t look beat down or afraid of him. This tough balance is what we should strive for in parenting our children. Too many parents try to be their son or daughter’s best friend, and others are so strict that it makes them unapproachable. We shouldn’t be their buddy or their dictator, but rather their coach.
Whenever Saban gives a press interview or talks to a sideline reporter, I like to keep count of how many times he says the word “execute.” If someone were to play a drinking game to that word, he or she would be three sheets to the wind by the third quarter. In all seriousness though, he makes a valid point in saying that the team must “execute.”
Sadly, we live in a world where not many people make good on their promises. They have great ideas, yet fail to follow through. Many parents fail to execute as well. It’s easy to say that we want to instill morals in our children and teach them manners. It’s easy to want them to learn new skills and excel in academics. None of this will happen though if we fail to execute our parenting plans.
I understand firsthand just how time-consuming it can be to train children to pick up toys or brush their teeth. It’s much easier to just do it for them, but that isn’t the right long-term solution for either of you. Just like those football players may lag and complain during a hot summer practice, children like to make excuses as well. You can give in to them so that you no longer have to hear the whining, or you can coach them along to help them succeed.
So, next time you’re knee deep in Paw Patrol paraphernalia with a crying toddler, or your teenager is complaining about curfew, channel your inner Saban. Explain to the child that hard work and sacrifice for the immediate future make for a better tomorrow. Prayer, patience, and the determination to execute your parenting plans can go a long way at molding your children into champions.
About the Author: Kaci Lane Hindman can best be described as an unconventional Southern Belle with a sarcastic sense of humor. She loves Alabama, writing, and writing about Alabama. She is married to the walking definition of a high-tech redneck, and together they have two young children.