Last month baseball lost one of the greatest pitchers of all time in Roy Halladay who passed away in a plane crash. There were many tributes to him, but one thing expressed over and over again was his work ethic. He would always be the first person at the ballpark to work out. He learned how to develop good habits, such as discipline and hard work. Habits such as these made him into a sure bet Hall of Famer.
We hear a lot of talk about keeping kids away from bad habits. Bad habits lead to bad behavior, which ultimately brings a difficult and painful life. That’s not what we want for our children. We want to develop in them the opposite. People often ask me about developing positive habits. How do you do it? How do you guide children as a parent? In order to do it, I go back to my coaching experience. Here’s how to develop good habits in your children.
I think you can develop habits in players or in children either positively or negatively. When I’m coaching the defensive line for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers it’s easy to say, Don’t be offside! But a better way to say it might be, Watch the ball and try to get a jump on it. As soon as that ball moves that’s when you move. I’m saying the same thing but in a positive instead of a negative way.
I think we need to do the same with our kids. Rather than say, Don’t be disrespectful, instruct them to use their manners and be respectful. Stressing and building the positive habits by telling them what to do rather than what not to do is a better way. Sometimes, of course, there is going to have to be a negative, but I have found that talking about the behavior that I want to see is much better than talking about the behavior I don’t want to see.