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/ 27 June 2018

How do I support my child as a parent in the world of elite sport?

Ben Poch is a student worker for the Scripture Union

A guest blog by our mission partners at Christians in Sport. Our own Andy Burns has also podcasted about witnessing as a ‘courtside’ parent.

Having children involved in elite sport can be a real rollercoaster. The highs and lows parents and guardians in this position face can be massive, often similar to those experienced by the children themselves. So much commitment is required, not least in time and travel, and ‘ordinary life’ is easily squeezed out of the diary.
Watching your child improve, mature, succeed and push themselves to the max using the many gifts, talents and abilities that God has given them can be a great joy. But dealing with disappointing results, making sure enough time is spent with your other children and deciding whether to go to church or a training session are just some of the challenges.

At Christians in Sport, we are aware of and support many families with children who are Young Performance Athletes (YPAs). We term a YPA to be a young person under the age of 19 currently on a performance pathway in their sport and who is either a Christian or wanting to explore the Christian faith. To increase this support, we have spoken to parents and guardians and researched the top 10 questions they faced. And it’s these questions that we have sought to answer in a new downloadable booklet called ‘How do I support my child as a Christian in the world of elite sport?’.

The questions we tackle in booklet include: ‘How do I keep Jesus at the centre of everything when trying to balance sport, church and life?’ and ‘How do I help my child deal with the culture of elite sport?’ Each answer gives a principle from the Bible, followed by suggestions of how it could be applied. Naturally, every situation is different, so there are questions at the end of each answer for parents and guardians to think about and discuss with others.

Christians in Sport’s General Director, Graham Daniels, said:

“It is hugely exciting to be a parent or guardian of a young person who is on their journey in elite sport! However, with the culture being so different to ‘everyday’ sport and the pressure and expectations so much higher, it can impact the whole family. We hope this new resource will address questions which are very real at this moment, as well as be an encouragement that there are others going through similar experiences.”

James, a YPA runner we support, said:

“I know my identity isn’t found in athletics. It’s found in God and how He views me as His child because Jesus has died for me. But living that out can be difficult.”

The parent of a young hockey player said:

“The booklet is excellent. I particularly love the parents’ comments and experiences – it’s good to know that there are others having the same dilemmas!”

We hope and pray the booklet will be a huge benefit to Christians in Sport families in this country and around the world. For more information on it, visit www.christiansinsport.org.uk/ypabooklet

Meet our partners: Jonny Reid

Jonny Reid is the Communications Team Leader for Christians in Sport. For more information please contact him by email or on 01869 255644.

About Communications

The diocesan communications team provides support to the network of clergy, churches, parishes and other worshipping communities that comprises the Diocese of London, as well as to the staff teams of the London Diocesan Fund.

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