Stop Stealing Resilience from Next-Generation Leaders

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112514-BBK-MAR-GOS-NEG-269Over the years, we’ve seen lots of changes in both high school and college sports. Better equipment, stronger pads and helmets, even better rules to foster sportsmanship among the players.

But in my opinion, the last move made in Wisconsin is a well-intended mistake.

Author and speaker Tim Elmore commented on this decision.  He states:   “The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association stated that certain chants are officially banned at games. Now, on the surface, this rule may sound logical—such as excluding off-color remarks or profanity. But this ruling goes far beyond inappropriate language. The ban prevents chants like:

  • “Air Ball.”
  • “You Can’t Do That.”
  • “Scoreboard.”
  • “We Can’t Hear You.”
  • “Overrated.”

Why has the WIAA officially banned such words from the fans?

Well, it might hurt a player’s feelings.

They’re called “infractions” by the WIAA. The fans are not even allowed to sing the popular song, “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” song.”

Why I Don’t Agree

Yes, we need to build empathy into the values emerging leaders.

However, whenever we solve teens’ problems by getting other people to do it for them, it simply weakens their resolve. They become conditioned to look for rules from the outside to make life better. It actually fosters entitlement. Teens eventually find themselves saying, “We need a new policy,” or “It’s the school’s fault that I don’t have good self-esteem,” or “I deserve a reward, since I’m a victim.”

It’s a victim mindset that later produces an adult who looks to someone else to solve the problems he or she has internally.

We prepare the path for the child, instead of the child for the path.

Today, I am concerned we’ve cultivated such a fragile generation that they will need special rules on the job, or special favors or personal days, or special perks because they are… well, special. This is not a good thing.

 Roll Back the Tape

Tim Elmore goes on (and I agree)  “If I was a coach in Wisconsin and heard those banned chants from the crowd during an away game in a gym, I would meet with my players afterward and teach them the right way to respond to such chants:

  • Reflect – What can we learn from this?
  • Resolve – Let’s decide we won’t let it happen again.
  • Resilience – Let’s bounce back and succeed.

The WIAA gave no indication it intends to change the rules, but state representative Dale Kooyenga — a former basketball player in the system — wrote the association a letter, urging it to do so. The letter is logical and heartfelt, and the best line of his letter, in my opinion, was, “If you think a high school student section is rough, try playing basketball on a playground on the south side of Chicago.”

Let’s go build some future leaders who are ready for the real world.

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