Archives For children

I don’t know about yours, but my kids aren’t perfect. They are, after all, a mixture of me and their dad, who both possess several flaws of our own.

They all play sports. My husband and I love to watch them play, but up until this past year, I didn’t really tell them how much nearly enough.

You know what I have told them? I let them know that I thought they should have caught a pop fly or stopped a line drive. I told them how many more rebounds they could have had if they would’ve properly boxed out their opponents. I asked them time and time again what is your position in football technically called? (seriously, a half dozen years have passed by with me watching them, and I am still clueless when it comes to understanding the sport I never played)

Look, statistically speaking, the chances of your kids or my kids playing sports beyond high school are not high. Just read the information put out by the NCAA if you don’t believe me.

However, if you want to try and help your child enjoy their sport as long as possible (maybe your little super star does have what it takes to play on a high school varsity or collegiate team), here’s some solid advice for you…

For over three decades, Rob Miller and Bruce E. Brown of Proactive Coaching LLC studied and interviewed college athletes – specifically, what (in the athletes’ own words) happened to them growing up that had negative repercussions on their sporting careers versus, conversely, what built them up on their paths to success.

Student-athletes overwhelmingly answered that the most negative response from their parents took place on the car ride home, when the youth were trapped in the same space as their well-intentioned parents offering ill-timed advice to them after the competition was done.

What was the single best thing these athletes reported hearing over and over again from their parents? Six simple, yet powerful, words: I LOVE TO WATCH YOU PLAY.

If you are like I am and sometimes need a reminder to control your own overly competitive spirit (especially following games) consider picking up a new product on GiveTheGameBack.com called the “Steering Perspective” wheel reminder. You can affix this velcro, soft fabric signage around your steering wheel as a visual cue to enjoy the car ride home…or at least control your urge to correct your young athlete on each and everything they did wrong.

Order your "Steering Perspective" wheel reminder today for you or someone you love. Twenty five percent of all proceeds from now through December 31, 2015 will go to All Play Sports Complex.

Order your “Steering Perspective” wheel reminder today for you or someone you love. Twenty five percent of all proceeds from now through December 31, 2015 will go to All Play Sports Complex.

steering perspective flat

***Twenty-five percent of all proceeds from the sales of this product from now through December 31, 2015 will go to All Play Sports Complex. Read this article to get more information about this fabulous organization in Omaha, NE, that provides barrier free access to sports and other recreational activities for people with physical or mental disabilities.

This video is pretty cool too.

Written by Heidi Woodard

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I find it equally surprising and comforting that so many people took the time to comment on a post I wrote back in June 2012 titled “I’m leaving my job” because, at the time, I wrote it mainly to reassure myself I was making the right choice. I honestly didn’t expect feedback in response to what I wrote.

Since that initial post sparked a lot of well wishers to chime in and let me know I would be ok, I thought it would be fitting to follow-up three years later with an update. I AM better than ok.

You see, I left a corporation that had limitless time attached to it (no, that’s not entirely true, there is no place that is 100% safe). But I did say goodbye to a company with seemingly more security than I have now.

Back then I accepted a new role that is tied to a company that was awarded a defined-period-of-time contract to do business. I live with the knowledge that, as early as this time next year, I could be job hunting again if we aren’t re-awarded new business.

I like to talk the talk, but not necessarily walk the walk, when it comes to embracing change.

I know without a doubt that every leap I’ve made up to this point in my life has resulted in being better off than where I was before. Yet, it never gets un-scary to take that leap, does it?

There are likely more than a few of you on the fence right now struggling with an important life change. I’m here to tell you…it WILL be better than ok.

  • It will be better than ok so long as you’ve weighed your options (never underestimate a pros/cons list) and it feels like it’s a choice you can accept and embrace.
  • It will be better than ok if you can imagine the possibilities of pursuing something that calls to you without fear of the unknown blocking your perspective.
  • It will be better than ok if it makes it easier for you to explain to your children why you choose to go to work because, believe it or not, they are interested in knowing what it is that you do all day and why you do it.

If you are anything like me, you started working because you wanted to somehow make a difference along with a paycheck. You wanted to use your talents and work alongside compelling colleagues that brought out the best in you. You didn’t mind putting in extra hours when no one cared that you did because you thought your work would define your greatness.

Allow me to let you in on a little secret….

…. (come close and listen, this is good stuff)….

…. life happens when you least expect it.

It happened to me.

I graduated college, got married, landed a job, lived in a few apartments, played in slow pitch softball and volleyball leagues, bought a house, had three children, stopped playing all previously mentioned activities, leaned on and laughed with girlfriends, signed my kids up for too many activities, watched loved ones get sick, rejoiced when some got better, said goodbye to others forever, and started to listen more than I talked.

That last one continues to be a struggle.

This time in my life, this job, has given me opportunities that I won’t take for granted. This phase of my career has given me the chance to make an impression on my kids.

Lexington baby shower4

Helping a little guy with the ring toss game at a community event.

I have more life experience and, as a result, recognize how different people deemed “in charge” have either helped or hindered my progress over the years. Some were leaders who encouraged new ideas, other were followers who trickled down orders.

Because life happens, I now know how to take better care of the people who rely on me from day-to-day. I’m handling less projects and more people.

People are saying things like “Your communication was excellent,” and “I appreciate you more than you know.” Amazing the types of things you hear when you stop doing all of the talking!

Yet the future remains uncertain.

If it all comes to an end in a year’s time, I will never regret making that leap.

Because…I am better than ok. And you will be too.

Written by Heidi Woodard

Do you remember a time growing up when you made a mistake from which you weren’t sure your pride would be able to fully recover? A mistake that not only embarrassed yourself, but those who counted you?

I remember one. It happened on the softball field when I was in college. In my adulthood looking back, I can appreciate how insignificant it was in the grand scheme of life. But it hurt nonetheless at the time.

I remember it was the final inning and third base was occupied by a player from our in-state rival. I remember a power hitter was up to bat with two outs. That same power hitter did something unexpected…she got under a pitch and popped it up to shallow right center.

I remember we were one out away from sealing a big victory. As I sprinted backwards from my position at second base looking up at the sky to track down the ball, I remember hearing my friend and teammate, the right-fielder, yell for the catch as she raced in towards the lip of the grass. At least I thought she called for the ball.

Although realizing I had just as good of a chance to snag that pop fly as she did, I immediately veered off course to avoid a collision. And that’s when it happened. The ball dropped between us.

Game over.

I saw the look of exasperation on her face. I saw the disappointment in my pitcher’s eyes. I saw the opposite team erupt in celebration.

And I was angry.

Angry at myself for not taking control as an upperclassman. Angry for not finishing a play that we had dedicated countless hours of practice to perfect. Angry that we did everything better than our opponents that game except for one stupid play.

I think back to that moment and often wonder how much worse I would have felt had that mistake been recorded and replayed over and over again for everyone to see. Luckily for me, I competed in a world that was far less technologically connected than the one my kids are expected to navigate.

Sports fans remember certain defining, cringe-worthy moments.

Bill Buckner 1986 World Series Game 6 “Between the Legs”

Chris Webber’s 1993 NCAA Championship “Infamous Timeout”

Fred Brown’s “Inexplicable Pass” to James Worthy in 1982 NCAA Championship

It is probable if you have kids who compete in sports that your son or daughter will be put in the position to single-handedly win or lose their games. And despite the fact that games are won or lost by a series of plays by both teams, fans seem to remember the final plays over everything else.

I challenge adults to think about times when they felt as if they were falling short in some aspect of their life: Struggling to keep their spouse happy; spearheading a work project that resulted in higher costs and fewer profits; failing to deliver upon a promise to their child; gaining too much weight; not taking enough time to rest; the list goes on and on.

It is true what they say: With age comes wisdom. We have the luxury of knowing that storm clouds will eventually pass. Many budding athletes aren’t old enough to have that same level of understanding. Children run the risk of only seeing darkness on auto loop. Errors are broadcast for all to see and mock.

Resist the temptation to only shower love on your child when they succeed and are being glorified.

Resist the temptation to stand across from their opposition in joyous celebration as young heads hang low.

Resist the temptation to immerse yourself too deeply into your child’s life, for it is theirs to live.

Resist the temptation to judge yourself or other parents based on the amount of trophies our kids accumulate.

I am 100% confident that my own children will learn a great deal from their setbacks as I have with mine. Memories will always trump medals in my opinion.

Don’t waste your breath (or dignity) screaming at anyone at your kid’s next competition. This is their book to write. Flip the pages and follow along. Enjoy the story.

Written by Heidi Woodard