Personal and Interpersonal Development through Sports
Sports can be a great physical channel in helping children with their personal and interpersonal development. The activities can mimic life. For children, play can be a very serious undertaking, in the same manner that adults like us take our jobs and our relationships seriously. Therefore, sport can be a means for our children to learn how to deal with the challenges of life. From the tryouts, the child learns that to get what you want you have to work at it. It will not be handed to them on a silver platter. When they lose, they learn to challenge themselves to do better and when they win, they learn to be good winners. Preparing for games, practicing, and learning from the coach teaches them discipline, perseverance and the importance of listening to others to gain more knowledge. Losing teaches them how to deal with setbacks. And wining gives them a glimpse of how it feels to accomplish things.
Participating in physical activities help children interact with other children in neutral territory. Often, people of different religions, race and ethnicity come together in the sports arena as teammates thus promoting the team spirit. This gives our children the chance to interact with different kinds of people and perhaps make a few new friends. It widens their understanding of the diversity of people and teaches them how to deal and cope with people of different backgrounds. It is an enriching experience that should be encouraged. Participating in sports can enhance the children’s personal and interpersonal development. Moreover, these activities can help them build self-confidence and self esteem. Sometimes just being part of a team can already accomplish this. The mere acceptance by others has a significant impact on a child’s self-image and this will be carried over to other aspects of life, most especially their social skills. Having a sense of belonging gives the child the confidence to try out new things.
Sports teach responsibility. Children learn simple but meaningful ideas like practice makes perfect or play as a team, win as a team. This is because in sports, our children find out through experience how their actions or inaction has an impact on others. They learn to take responsibility for the things they do or say rather than trying to blame other people for the bad things that happen. Moreover, these physical activities make them fit and healthy. Fitness and health play an important role in our personal as well as interpersonal development, and this is true not only for kids but for adults as well. Being fit and healthy makes us feel good about ourselves. Often we feel good about ourselves is essential to any meaningful personal and interpersonal development.
Moreover, teaching the importance and necessity of rules can be learned when your children engaged in sports activities particularly when they need to belong in teams. Remember, all sports have rules, and children learn that when you break enough rules, you forfeit the game. In other words, you lose. Children learn that rules are there to protect them and keep the game fair. It is also an exercise in meeting objectives (winning or sometimes just finishing) in spite of the challenges (rules, competition) along the way.
Sports can have a lot of good results on a child’s self-development but never forget the most essential thing. Playing sports should be about having fun. This should be the primary objective in letting children participate in the first place, not winning. Nurturing a competitive streak is fine if certain limits are imposed. However, children should play sports because they want to play, not to win. Sometimes even parents are guilty of blurring this distinction. When sports become a mission rather than an enjoyable experience, then it loses its value as a tool for personal and interpersonal development. Being a child is about having fun. Take it out of the equation and you will definitely have a problem in your hands.