Lessons Learned from Moms of Champions

On The Sanity Hour (3/15/10), I talked to moms whose children are reaching for the stars. I talked to moms whose children are striving to compete in the Olympics or pro sports, who have written books, and who are aiming for (or now achieving) success on stage and screen. I wanted to reiterate the wisdom shared by these women, all good advice for raising our kids to be great adults, regardless of their goals. The key points about managing life for themselves as moms and their aspiring offspring were:

1) Great achievements are kid-driven, not parent driven. The children in question made up their own minds about the goal. That’s what fueled success. It simply does not work to push kids for our purposes. Parents can be cheerleaders, not coaches.
2) Values are key. Happiness needs to be a touch point: if the child is no longer enjoying the path, it’s time to regroup. Emphasis on being a good person, not just a star, who can inspire and give back to others contributes to success. And it’s critical to uphold values. Ignoring the importance of family time or trying to mold to the preferences of an agent/coach/director is a mistake.
3) Self-care and emotional outlets for mom must be cast in stone, especially exercise and mom’s own goals for her life.
4) Persistence is necessary, to push through tough schedules/commitments for all. Keeping the balance, of course, with values as addressed in #2.
5) Parents must insist on certain elements of regular life as a kid: time to go to the movies, regular bedtimes, homework completed. Parents can’t fear saying “no.” A parent’s job is to foster a well-rounded adult, and sometimes tough choices must be made in favor of normal life and activities.
6) Nothing is forever. Choices can be undone, interests can evolve. It’s about the process, not the destination.
All of these points are excellent rules for raising perfectly good kids, across the board. , not just for raising Olympic medalists or Oscar winners.

(I learned something too–not to jam too many guests into one hour! Apologies to my guests who had more to say, and my listeners who wanted to hear more in depth. This radio show host learning curve can be steep–like so much of real life.)

For information about some of the guests and their children, here are links.
International Chicago High Achievers is Jinnie English’s personal and professional development firm for high achievers, their families and companies. They help clients maintain their competitive edge.

Trent Kowalik is the 15 year old Tony-winning actor of Billy Ellliott

Taylor LeBaron was a torchbearer for the 2010 Winter Olympics. At age 14, Taylor created his own plan that turns fitness into a game and reduced his weight from 297 to 145. The plan is central to his book and blog.

Rada Thomas, of Stellar Presentations, speaks on women, sales, and leadership, when she’s not fostering her son’s football achievements. For more info, email radaspeaks@yahoo.com.

Mary Dressendofer trains aspiring dancers at her studios, including her seven year old daughter who aspires to sing, model, act, and dance.

Dakota Lee , daughter of Mary Ellen, has authored the book Flash of Freedom, and speaks to students and educators.

And if you need a getaway–and who doesn’t–here is a link from Joann Perahia, whose 15 year old sons appeared in the blockbuster film 2012.

One thought on “Lessons Learned from Moms of Champions

  1. Shirley says:

    Great, simple suggestions for parents of any child. It’s good to have it articulated as a few simple steps. It’s nice to let your kids be who they are–whatever they are–and be the best they can be. Excellent post.

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