Sunday, June 15, 2008

Don't dabble, dream before you teach, and turn off the TV

If you're a Dad and you want to help your kids excel -- whether in sports or academics or piano -- you should check out Wayne Bryan's book, Raising Your Child to be a Champion.  USA Today had a note about it last week, which is how I learned about it.

Wayne's boys, Mike and Bob, are the No. 1-ranked doubles tennis team in the world.  But they're not just great athletes.  They graduated from Stanford and they're talented musicians.  Pretty well-rounded kids, I'd say.

Here's Wayne's advice for raising kids:

-- Find what your kid really loves.  "Don't dabble in 50 things."  It's tempting for parents to "dabble."  With so many interesting options and activities for kids and the pressure for kids to be active and overachieve, kids can easily dabble without going "deep."

-- "Put dreaming ahead of teaching."  Wayne suggests taking your kids to watch the very best activity first -- to get them excited about it -- then work on teaching.  This goes for basketball or acting or the Spelling Bee.  "You must see it before you can dream it, and you must be passionate about it before you can achieve it."

-- On performance days (games, recitals, etc.), Wayne recommends sitting in the back row. "With each foot you back up the pressure goes down for them and you."  And when the performance is over, wait for your child to approach you, then ask them if they want water or Gatorade and ask where they'd like to go for dinner or lunch.  [I'd also ask them if they had fun.]

-- Wayne also suggests turning off the TV.  In fact, he claims that the TV left his house the day his boys were born.  Great advice.

Happy Fathers Day to Wayne and all of the other Dads out there.