Would you ever "call in a favor" to help your kid? (kinda long)

TimeforMe

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Sep 24, 2001
I know this has debate possibilities, but I'm just curious. Here's the scenario: DS14 is a freshman in high school. While he is a very good (not great) athlete, he sometimes lacks confidence to try out for things because he's afraid to fail. We live in a very large, competitive, affluent community. DS has always been on recreational teams with the exception of one year of travel soccer. Like most kids, he has suffered some disappointment of not being picked for the better teams, etc. Anyway, he did not try out for soccer this fall (for fear of not making the team, I think) but ended up being asked to play because they were in need of "good players". He ended up being one of the better players on the team and having an excellent season.

Fast forward to tryouts for basketball season currently happening. He's been to 2 tryouts (with the 3rd and final being held today) and feels pretty confident he'll make the team. In the meantime, DH called his friend who is a long-time teacher and coach at the school (although he's not currently coaching) and asked him to "put in a good word" so to speak for our son. His friend came over yesterday and told dh that ds would most likely make the team without his "help" because he's good enough, but will definitely make it now. Now, the moral dilemma: dh is feeling horrible for doing it--of course ds doesn't know any of this. I say "bah"--it happens all the time--we've just never had the nerve to do it; especially since friend told us he'd have made it anyway.

So have you ever helped your child along in any way? Any guilt afterwards?
 
I'm sure you didn't post this to become a debate. However, I don't agree with what your DH did. I know that we all want our children to succeed, I'm no different than any other parent on that.

Look at it from another perspective - what if your son was a better player than "Frank". "Frank" makes the team because his parents had some "pull." How would you explain why your DS didn't make the team because "Frank" had connections?

Not only do I not agree with what your DH did, his friend should not be involved with speaking to the coaches either. Two wrongs do not make a right.

edited to correct a typo!
 
It does happen all the time. So long as your son truly has the talent, than don't sweat it. I do know a lot of "favors" that I can ask for once my son gets to H.S. and I probally will. Again. so long as the talent is there, what is wrong with having a good word put in for you?
 
I dunno, I have to agree with what clh2 said. Also, how would your son feel if he found out that someone "put in a good word" for him after the fact?

The fact that it happens a lot doesn't make it right. It makes me think of the old "If everyone jumped off the bridge, would you do it, too?" thing.

If he's good enough to make the team, that's great. That's the way it should be.
 


What's done is done - don't beat yourself (or DH) over it. Learn from this and don't do it in the future. I agree, it does happen - but I wouldn't want to contribute to this system. (reeks of the "good ol' boy" network - which I don't like - hey - maybe I don't like it becasue I'm not a part of it!?)
 
I just want to say, he isn't the first and he won't be the last.

I never went to a coach and asked about playing time, or maybe my daughter should be on jv, instead of the freshman team. What she did on her own, she earned it. Same with my 2 older sons.

Parents in my town will call, demand and write letters to get their kid playing time and on a team. Either the coach is strong and don't give into it, or you can end up with a weaker coach and they give in.

I think if your child is really good and you do have a legit reason to talk to a coach why your kid didn't make the team, it should be up to the kid to talk to the coach first, not the parent.
 
** caveat = not a parent. I'm also not a man, or a minority, but I have an opinion on issues related to them, etc. **

I'm going to play devil's advocate and disagree with most of the above posters - this is a competitive world, and so long as it doesn't actively hurt another person, I'll do anything to give my kids a leg up. This includes but is not limited to calling the principal to get a certain teacher; calling in favors to land him on a sports team; taking advantage of legacy status to get him into college; using contacts in the military to score him a posh posting; getting him orthodontia, contacts, etc. to be maximally attractive; etc. It's not my job to enforce meritocracy in a world that is not fundamentally meritocratic. It's my job to help my kid become as successful as his own skill and any extenuating circumstances allow. If another kid doesn't make the team because my kid did ... oh well, life isn't fair, and his family didn't have the contacts and influence mine did, so better luck to them next time. This is the way the business world works, this is the way the top echelons of society work, and since I want my kid to be in those echelons, I'll teach him the lessons that are appropriate for it.

In life, some people walk and some people are content to get stepped on. My kid is going to walk.

(I love playing devil's advocate, such good fun)
 


I don't know if it's right or wrong. I believe it was done with good intentions on dad's part though. I hope DS doesn't find out about it though because it sounds like he doesn't have a lot of self-confidence and this might make him wonder how many times he has earned something on his own or if it was just dad "puting in a good word" before. I have two son's and I love 'em but they are not natural athletes. :guilty: I have always tried to explain to them that they may not make the team or if they do they may not get to play as much as others. My oldest loves baseball with a passion and even though he is not the best at it I am proud of him for trying so hard and never complaining when he has to sit on the bench. It breaks my heart to see them realize that they are not as athletically gifted as some of their friends but I praise them for being part of the team. Life is not fair and that is one hard lesson to learn.
 
I'm guessing the community I live in isn't too different from yours. I also suspect that if your son wasn't good enough to make the team, he probably wouldn't. The parents of the better kids who didn't make it would see to that. :jumping3:

Where a good word comes in is when your kid is close to the cut line. If there are more good kids than they can take, a kid who had a good word put in for them is going to get the second look. And it sounds like that's all your DH asked for. That's what friends are for.

Don't beat yourselves up over it.
 
Yup - I'd definately do it and I don't see anything wrong with what your husband did. He didn't ask for pursuation. He asked for simply a friend to put in a good word for your son. Its not a big deal and didn't tip the scale. Most coaches will take a player based on performance not political motives - but to be asked to give someon a second look who deserves it - that's fine.

I live in a very political world and my DH and I use our influence with politicians all the time.
 
danacara, I pretty much disagree with everything you posted!

To the OP, it's done, so don't get too worked up about it. Good that your son is a good enough player to make the team without the "extra word" needed. If I were in your shoes, though, I'd probably never do it again. I'd also hope my DS never found out that I called in a "connection", because then he'd probably always think he wouldn't have made the team if the "connection" hadn't been used. In the long run, that will do more harm than him being disappointed a few times in his life.

IMHO, I'd rather make or not make a team based on my own merits, not because of "connections". If someone else's family uses "connections", well...that's their problem. I cannot be the moral voice for the world...only for myself.

Tough job, being a parent. Everything you do teaches a kid something...it's up to you whether what you teach him is good or bad.
 
If your kid is unskilled, he won't make the team. The coach can look at skills at try outs. What a "good word" contributes would be in areas the coach may not be able to observe in tryouts...Is he a nice kid v. a behavior problem? Is he dependable? Is his home life stable or will be move half way through the season? That kind of "good word" can be very helpful for the coach, so all is probably well.

The only way this could backfire on you is if your son really isn't good enough and ends up spending the season on the bench...your DH's agony at watching him sit there every game will teach him not to make any more phone calls. (Hope that doesn't happen!
 
I know that your DH had all the right intentions, and I'm sure that most of us would have the urge to do the same thing, although life is full of dissapointments, and our kids need to learn how to deal with them as they come. If we protect them too much, they won't learn this. I wouldn't worry too about it this time, but just remember it for the future! :)
 
DiaDeGuadalupe said:
The fact that it happens a lot doesn't make it right. It makes me think of the old "If everyone jumped off the bridge, would you do it, too?" thing.

You're right--it doesn't make it right. But on the other hand, it's not "right" that my son spent more time on the bench during baseball season because the coach had his kids and his friends' kids and his nephews, etc., etc. that HAD to play despite the fact that my son was obviously a better player.
 
Disney Doll said:
danacara, I pretty much disagree with everything you posted!


I pretty much disagree with everything she said too - I guess she was playing devils advocate :D .

Like someone else said, don't beat yourself up over this, but I wish people wouldn't do this! I saw it so much! Mothers admitted they did it all they time when DD was in school and I was amazed! I think it hurts people like my DD, because I want her to do things on her own, and so she might lose out because o anohter parent doing something I won't do. In the end, I think DD will be better off. She will always be sure that she earned what she gets.
 
It's interesting, I think every kid is eventually going to get hammered with disappointments, but in this world, as a parent, there are the disappointments you can control and the ones you can't. So I'd prefer that my kid just suffer for the ones that I couldn't control. The world isn't a meritocracy at all, it's dumb of me to act as though it is, and if my kid caught wind of the fact that mom called to get me on the team - I'd hope he would interpret it as "mom's on my side, she'll help me however she can."
 
Disney Doll said:

IMHO, I'd rather make or not make a team based on my own merits, not because of "connections".
Yep, I agree. I only wish things were that simple and that all people achieved success based on their own merits. :sad2:

Thanks for all your posts. I think that just the fact that dh is feeling guility says a lot. Many of the parents we know have no qualms about giving their child any edge they can.

danacara: LOL! You crack me up. I appreciate your honesty. I'm sure many parents feel the same way, but don't admit it. I agree with much of what you say. I feel he's suffered more than his share of disappointments and quite needlessly, because we sat back and did the right thing while the other parents made a fuss.
 
TimeforMe said:
You're right--it doesn't make it right. But on the other hand, it's not "right" that my son spent more time on the bench during baseball season because the coach had his kids and his friends' kids and his nephews, etc., etc. that HAD to play despite the fact that my son was obviously a better player.

No, it isn't right that your son had to spend a season on the bench, but in the long run, he won't be the adult who has a fit when things don't go his way because he was taught that he was entitled to do/have whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted, and at whatever cost to others.

*Edit:
Ok, this doesn't sound right. *sigh* I meant to say that because he wasn't taught that sense of entitlement. Sheesh!
 
What is done is done! What good does it do to rehash something that cannot be changed? He will either do all right...or not. Wheter good or bad, this goes on all the time! We played a whole season of YMCA soccer not realizing that the teams were stacked from the beginning! DUH! Not everything is a huge life lesson! This kid will no doubt learn whether he is "entitled" or not based on his entire life and not one situation.

Be well and enjoy the season!
 
DiaDeGuadalupe said:
No, it isn't right that your son had to spend a season on the bench, but in the long run, he won't be the adult who has a fit when things don't go his way because he was taught that he was entitled to do/have whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted, and at whatever cost to others.

*Edit:
Ok, this doesn't sound right. *sigh* I meant to say that because he wasn't taught that sense of entitlement. Sheesh!

I got what you were trying to say. It's not so much about our kids suffering disappointments but so many kids have come to expect that their parents are going to bail them out or pull strings. A lifetime of this makes a very ugly adult.
 

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