4 Things the Super Bowl Can Teach Your Kids About Life


Whether you like the game or not, football is a great way to teach your kids about success in life.

Super Bowl Sunday - the biggest TV and media event of the year. An entire day designed to keep you and your family glued to your televisions. The pregame hype; the national anthem with an Air Force flyover; the half-time musical entertainment; even the commercials are special occasions. Oh yeah, then there is the game itself.

Whether you like the game or not, football is a great way to teach your kids about succeeding in life.  Below are four ways you can use the Super Bowl to teach your kids about success:

  1. The Importance of Goals. Touchdowns equal BIG Goals. According to a study done at Dominican University, those who set goals and wrote them down accomplished significantly more than those who did not. In football, the goals are clear. Each team wants to score touchdowns. To do so, the ball must enter the end zone by crossing the GOAL line. Each end zone is painted with the team colors and has the team name clearly visible. It is outlined in white and has bright orange cones to show the boundries. It is clear to everyone involved in the game what the goal is, and everyone recognizes when it has been achieved. The same is true in life. Talk with your kids about the importance of setting clearly defined goals for themselves.  Challenge them to come up with one goal they want to achieve, write it down, and post it on the refrigerator.
  2. The Importance of Planning. It is one thing to have a goal and another to have a plan to achieve it. Going into the Super Bowl, the coaches will have spent weeks preparing a game plan for defeating the other team and each team will have practiced that plan multiple times. Big plans and achievements are not accomplished overnight. They take time and continued effort. In football, a team needs to gain ten yards to achieve a first down. This allows them to keep the ball and continue to move down the field and score. While not as obvious as the end zones, these smaller (or incremental goals) are also clearly visible on the field. Discuss with your kids how they can break down their goal into smaller pieces to make it easier to achieve.
  3. Teamwork and Accountability. There are two groups competing in every football game. Everyone from the players, coaches, trainers, cheerleaders and team executives has a shared common goal and vision. Each person has roles and responsibilities vital to the success of the team. Teams accomplish far more than individuals can because of the diversity of strengths and weaknesses. During the game, players from each team will huddle to ensure they are executing the strategy as planned and confirm each player knows his role on the upcoming play. Each player is accountable to every other player on the team. Share with your kids a goal that you have. Write it down and post in the fridge next to theirs. Now, you are a team and accountable to each other for helping each other reach your goals.
  4. The Touchdown Dance! Celebration of achieved Goals. Touchdown dances are an entertaining part of the game of football. Some become so famous they become part of pop culture like Jamal Anderson’s “Dirty Bird” and the “Ickey Shuffle” from the 1980’s which was recently featured in a Geico TV commercial. The latest example is Cam Newton, quarterback for the Carolina Panthers. He has taken “The Dab” from an obscure hip-hop dance move to a mainstream phenomenon. Athletes from other sports, TV personalities, and even political candidates are on film “Dabbing” (or at least trying). It is important to celebrate when a goal is reached. Celebrations can be big or small. Its up to you. Either way, celebrating completion of a goal gives the mind a sense of completion and a job well done while starting the of a pleasurable outcome at the end of an achieved goal. There are few things worse than the disappointing feeling of “is this all there is” at the end of hard work. That’s why part of the goal setting process has to be spelling out what the celebration or reward will be upon completion. On each of the goals you wrote down with your kids, also write what the celebration or reward will be.

Mark Papadas is a nationally recognized children’s empowerment expert. He has been blessed to work in the self-development field for over 20 years, with and for such leaders as Brian Tracy, Zig Ziglar, and Anthony Robbins. He was recently recognized with a 2015 Focus on Impact Achievement Award. Mark is the author of the acclaimed book “10 Secrets to Empower Kids and Awaken the Child in You” and President of The I AM 4 Kids Foundation – a recognized 501c3 charity committed to providing its personal empowering programs to public schools across the U.S. at NO COST to the SCHOOLS.

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