Raising Athletes in a Selfie Generation | Softball Is For Girls

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The times they are a changing…. 

It seems like for today’s youth, nothing actually ever happens unless there is a picture to prove that it did. And then, that picture gets immediately uploaded to some social media site – to forever embed the moment in time. This is the way it is. 

And everywhere you go, there is a generation of our youth who are staring at a phone making faces and fish faces and weird smiles taking selfies of themselves to commemorate every day they spend on earth. Then there is the editing of these pictures, and the posting, and the apps that can make those pictures of self love look uber fabulous to impress all the other people taking pictures of themselves. 

It’s honestly ridiculous. Nothing wrong with a snap shot, but last weekend we watched an entire team of kiddos sitting on the bleachers making ‘mirror’ faces into their phones.

Back in the day, this self love and self absorption would be as embarrassing as being caught picking your nose in public. But today…life revolves around the selfie. Or you might be called vain. 

We hear so many folks, heck…we know a lot of girls that seem to have confidence issues in so many aspects of their lives, yet they certainly aren’t shy with the scrolls of selfies with their tongues and butts hanging out that are blasted all over their profiles. 

So with all this ‘fake’ self love and admiration of the self, and the love of the selfie – how are we supposed to raise athletes – or people for that matter, who get past the toddler mentality that they world revolves around them and help them migrate into a team environment.  

Softball is a team sport. It’s not about the softball. Not about the solo home-run. It takes all 9-10 people on the team to make the thing work. Sometimes it may seem that the one holding the solo walk off homerun in her selfie was the game winner, but the reality is that there were a lot of defensive plays and at bats that came before. 

A selfie NEVER tells the whole picture. 

As adults, where many of us had to wait a few days unless we were lucky enough to have a Polaroid camera – this new instant satisfaction, selfie generation can be hard to parent in. But one of the BEST things that we can do, is give our girls a chance to learn that the world does not revolve around them. And the best way to do this is to introduce them to TEAM sports. 

Secondly, we have humble our kiddos. And while our kids are our world to us – the faster we show them and tell them that the rest of the world may not be as crazy about them as we are, no matter how good the ‘selfie’ looks – the better off they will be. In other words, they have to rely on their own hard-work, their own work ethic, and they have to ALWAYS WORK TO BE THE BEST TEAMMATE on the FIELD! 

You hear that? They have to be a teammate. Even if they don’t want to. Even if they think they are prettier, more popular, smarter, better – they HAVE to be a teammate. Because if they won’t join the metaphorical hands of their team they will never be an asset on or off the field, or in the workforce, or as parents, or as adulting people. 

So firstly….Parents have the mighty role of helping kids learn that it is okay to recognize and realize that other people in this world are talented too, and that there are people in this world who have more talent than our own kids. This way, they realize that they have to always WORK HARD for what they want. Because there is always someone else, somewhere else who instead of taking selfies on the bleachers, is out there working on her backhand, or her hitting. 

Secondly…parents have to stop over fluffing their kids and their kids ego. You have to stop getting in the car after a tournament and tearing down what everyone else on the team did wrong. You have to stop BLAMING others. Instead, whether your kid is 8 or 16 – tell them to STEP UP and be the leader their team is lacking. We cannot go about being a team, until we get our player alone, and then suddenly treat her like she is the star of the show and expect her to be a teammate. Plus, we can promise you this. When it REALLY matters….your kid is going to get a big old slap in the face because eventually her ability will be ousted. If she has a teammate not pulling the weight, getting angry and placing blame doesnt fix anything. Instead, teach her to lift that person up, and be a leader. 

It is also important that we point out often and early in life that the world of social media is horseshit. It’s a highlight reel. You know it. I know it.

Even us, as parents (we are guilty) are constantly raving about our kids accomplishments online. It’s as if bragging has become the newest thing. And there’s a good chance no one really cares. When I see a parent posting this picture and that picture of their smiling kid holding trophies or awards or homerun balls – I am not super impressed. I’m happy for my friend that she has a proud moment, but down deep it doesn’t really change anything in my day to day life. I hit the like button, because I want that parent to know I am proud of their kid and they are my friend, but it isn’t information that I really need to know to make it through our day. And our kids MUST LEARN THIS. What they are scrolling through is a highlight reel. The selfie with the homerun ball, the selfie with the perfect beach scene – it leaves out most of the picture…. 

IN fact, if we are being brutally honest – our online bragging of our kids is more about us than our kids. And maybe our kids are learning from us. We want and crave pats on the back and the cliche comments about how wonderful our kids are. So it’s only natural that our children do as well. But all those likes and hearts and “you’re children are so awesome,” is just a temporary fix to the real roots of our lacks in confidence. 

Never settle! Teach your kid to NEVER settle. NEver settle for the approval of others as a meter of success. Never depend upon the approval of others to feel good about ourselves. THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS IS HOW WE FEEL ON THE INSIDE….HOW OUR KIDS FEEL ON THE INSIDE…. End. of. Story. Everything is irrelevant.

Last but certainly not least – lets literally teach our kids to turn their phones around (or off) and pay attention to the big bad world that is going on around them. There is so much to see and learn. So much to focus on, so many beautiful things and learning opportunities. But we first have to be willing to turn around our focus.

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