Editor’s Note: We’re pleased to publish an excerpt from Drs. Magy and Don Martin’s Finding Grit – The No-Nonsense Guide for Raising Your Daughter to be Successful in Athletics, School, and Life.
Finding Grit by Dr. Don Martin & Dr. Magy Martin
One of the things we’ve discovered in following female athletes after they graduate from college is that many of these women learned to be quite successful in business. We have tried to figure out why, and usually we have come to one common denominator: their mothers.
The Importance of Mothers
Furthermore, we have found that there is an exceptional quality among these mothers. During their daughter’s early education and athletic careers, these parents openly supported their daughters and would fight for their rights whether it was with their teachers or coaches. These parents understood that they were raising daughters who were different from their peers. Let’s look at some of the ways their daughters may have been different and how their parents encouraged them. These mothers were really the first generation to see their daughters benefit from athletics.
Their daughters were more athletic than their peers. Many times, they were less feminine or considered tomboys. Their parents supported their athletic behaviors and encouraged them at every opportunity. This support included times when boys would make fun of them, or other parents would comment on their child’s behavior. These parents made their daughters feel good about themselves even when they realized they were different from their peers.
These women often talked about how their Moms told them that they could be anything in life. Often their Moms used their performance in school and sports as a way of showing them how talented they were. They gave their daughters hard data and would commend them on their accomplishments while at the same time pushing for more achievement. These mothers taught their daughters that they can never rely on their laurels but that life required them to use their talents.
Even though some of these mothers were not athletic at all, they would often play with the girls and often comment about how talented their daughters were compared to themselves. These parents appreciated the gifts of their daughters and continually encouraged their daughters to explore new avenues.
Parents Inspired Daughters
These parents were not necessarily aggressive, but they did inspire their daughters. Every child wants to give up one time or another especially when things get tough. These parents would not allow their daughters to stop and would consistently tell them that they had a gift that should be used. These mothers taught their daughters that problems are solved with challenging themselves and others. Most women are taught to be afraid of confrontation and usually nurtured into softening certain tendencies. But formidable skills are needed in the real world, and these mothers believe that women can be taught to be artful in conflict in order to get them where they truly want to be.
They also taught their daughters how to be a nonconformist and open to the surprising, original parts of themselves while looking for alternative answers. Schools teach girls to follow, but these moms realized that for every question, there are a lot of right answers. Their daughters were taught how to think out of the box and in many ways this one trait can be life-changing for women.
Interestingly, these moms taught their daughters about money early and often in their lives and not to rely on a partner or spouse to take care of that for them. They taught them the importance of a college education as a means to opportunity and they learned the role of a scholarship in going to college. Daughters were taught that their skills in academics and athletics had monetary value. They learned that college coaches were well rewarded for their work and that they needed to be protective of their own self-worth.
Daughters Learned Life Lessons
These daughters were taught how to network with their peers and how to create a team through healthy relationships with other women. As adult women, these female athletes learned how to work with others on projects and get advice. They recognized the importance of making business friendships early on in their careers and how they could contribute to those relationships.
These Moms taught their daughters the values of self-expression and attention to detail. Through sports, the girls began to focus on the little things that make a difference in a winning combination. They continually learned how to self- improve and to work on the things that may have gotten in the way of them being more successful. It is hard work and focusing on the little things that creates success. These Moms taught their daughters how to do things the right way even if it meant doing it repeatedly until it was correct.
Raising Your Daughter: Balancing Priorities
These daughters related to us how they learned early from their Moms how to multitask and balance a hectic life. It is hard to do well both in school and sports and still have friends and a social life. It is a constant act of balancing priorities and making the right decisions. These Moms would be alright with their daughters helping them make good choices.
Yes, sometimes there were some real fights and disagreements, but these Moms did not back away from helping their daughters develop a life where they would be successful. Children make sound decisions because their parents are involved and help them make choices that will help them. These Moms think making smart decisions is like any other skill set. You must practice and accomplish before you can do it on your own.
–Drs. Don and Magy Martin
About the Authors
Authors Drs. Don and Magy Martin wrote Finding Grit (Buy book here) as a guide for parents who wish to raise daughters that are successful in both school and sports, with the ultimate goal of achieving an athletic scholarship. It is their belief that when girls are taught to strive for excellence, integrity, respect, and inclusion, tomorrow’s leaders will emerge.
Don Martin currently directs the Nationally Ranked School Counseling graduate program at Youngstown State University and is a neuropsychologist in private practice. Dr. Magy Martin conducts a private practice specializing in working with children, adolescents and their parents.
Both Don and Magy are noted researchers in the field of counseling and psychology and have been training clinicians in the field of psychotherapy for over 30 years. This book discusses their extensive work in sports psychology and parenting, as well as their own personal experience. Both of their daughters were NCAA Division I accomplished basketball players who later graduated with doctoral degrees. Check out their website: www.findinggrit.com and their Facebook page.
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