Raising Children a Team Effort – Have You Thanked Your Kid’s Coach Lately?

This commentary by David Frise  was published in the Moncton Times & Transcipt today.

Raising Children a Team Effort – Have You Thanked Your Kid’s Coach Lately?

I consider myself very fortunate. I have two wonderful daughters age 19 & 21 who have both grown into confident, driven, conscientious and caring young women. This is not a sudden revelation that struck me out of the blue but rather a continuous observation that I have enjoyed witnessing through my years as a parent.

The following statement will not come as a news bulletin to anyone …making the decision raise a family is not one that is to be taken lightly nor is it an endeavor for the faint of heart. In making the decision early in our marriage to start a family we quickly realized that while raising children was primarily the parents’ responsibility – we had to understand and embrace the fact that we would not do it alone and that through the help of our extended friends and families, teachers, doctors & coaches that it would truly be a “team” effort. If we are to raise successful children who will make a positive impact on society we have to take advantage of every possible resource at our disposal and in doing so as parents we also have to take the opportunity to thank them.

This past weekend I attended my oldest daughter’s final swimming competition of her career at the Atlantic University Sport swimming championship hosted by Dalhousie University – both our girls are currently swimming varsity while attending studies at Mount Allison University. While I was sitting there watching the weekend events and thinking back over the past 12 years of my oldest daughters swimming career I thought how fortunate we have been to have had the opportunity to surround our kids with such positive influences. Without going into too many details we are or have been a “swimming” family. At an early age we enrolled our girls in the sport of swimming and while we didn’t push but rather encouraged their continued participation in the sport it is in large part the commitment of their various coaches that helped them stay in the sport for over 12 years. Through the direction and encouragement of various coaches our girls have learned several values that have molded them into the fine women they are today. Commitment, mental focus, accountability, time management, team work, change management and perseverance have all been skills that our girls have had to develop and put into practise on a daily basis. They developed these skills while under the watchful eye of numerous swim coaches throughout early morning & after school practices consisting of roughly 8-14 hours a week plus numerous weekend competitions. Like many Canadians both my wife and I work fulltime – so the reality was that some weeks during the competitive swimming season (September to July for us) our kids spent almost as much time under the care and influence of their swim coaches as they did with us. The impression a proper coach can leave on a child is invaluable – it will not only pay huge dividends in your child’s physical health but also in their mental health & well-being as they develop & grow through the most impressionable years of their lives.

To that point I would like to thank some of our children’s past and present coaches – please know that the guidance and values you have (perhaps in some cases unknowingly) instilled on our girls has been very much appreciated. To Kim Buck, Jack Best, Mel Melanson, Logan Keirstead, Troy & Liz Blakney, John Peters and all the other coaches that played a part in our girls early lives we are very grateful that you chose to volunteer your spare time or in some cases actually chose a full time profession that plays such an important role in the development of young Canadians.

I will also take this opportunity to challenge sporting associations, club boards, municipalities and provincial and federal governments to not only continue their support but to further enhance support towards the education and development of our Canadian coaches. Their roles – their profession – play such an integral role in not only the development of healthy children and athletes but also in developing and inspiring successful Canadians.

Finally I will encourage every parent who has had the good fortune to enroll their child in organized sport to take an opportunity to thank their child’s coach or coaches for their time, dedication and commitment. Raising successful children – raising successful Canadians – is truly a team effort and from my experience your child’s coach is an integral member of that team.

David Frise, Riverview, NB