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The Head Coach: Pennies need to be earned, not given

The Head Coach: Pennies need to be earned, not given
September 24, 2012 Ignacio Fiallos

What is all this hoopla about the royals and their naked bodies?

First it was Prince Harry in Vegas showing off the Royal Jewels and now it is Princess Kate. Personally, I am not interested in the royals without their clothes.

But, given my interest in the psychological world, I have been fascinated with the antics of Prince Harry. We only know what the media has reported, but it is obvious that he is struggling with some emotional issues. His excessive partying and bad decisions (e.g., he once dressed up like a Nazi) are just a few that have been reported. While I know many of his difficulties stem from the loss of his mother (Princess Diana) at a young age, I also believe many are caused by the excessive wealth and fame bestowed upon him from birth.

When wealth and prestige are given and not earned, there can be serious complications. The ability to function properly becomes diminished when your world is given to you.

There is an old saying in the financial world that wealth lasts only 3 generations: The first generation earns the wealth and is appreciative of its power and influence. The second generation spends it and relishes in luxury. The third generation loses the wealth because there is no appreciation of the value of hard work.

I have seen this same problem with some of my clients in sports psychology. Usually, I have a parent who wants me to work with their teenage athlete on mental toughness. Most parents who reach out to me are doing extremely well financially. I have discovered that many of these young athletes are spoiled. They are given everything they want, and more. As a result, they have a difficult time handling the bad breaks that may arise in competition, and there are always bad breaks during a competition. They lack resiliency to bounce back, and this greatly diminishes their sports potential. This is the main issue we worked on together.

Former University of Tennessee Coach Pat Head Summit knew of the potential of this problem in her players. One of her secrets was her preference to recruit basketball players from single parent families. She knew that girls from single parent families had a more difficult life and, as a result, needed to become more resilient at an earlier age. Perhaps, this recruiting secret was the main ingredient of all her championships.

Like Coach Summit, certain well-to-do families knew the difficulties of coming from wealth. One is the Rockefellers, who put their children on an allowance so they would know the value of a penny. Another family is the Kennedys, who emphasized to their children the importance of service. I believe that was one of the main reasons that both John and Robert Kennedy fought so hard for civil rights reform.

There could be no greater joy then to give your children a better life. While it is tempting to spoil your children, this can derail their ability to bounce back from failure. Nothing is more important as a parent then to effectively prepare your children to handle all the bumps and bruises in life’s journey.


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