There is no “I” in team … or is there?

I didn’t participate in many team activities as a child, but my belief in their importance strengthens with each passing day.

Be it soccer, baseball, 4-H or robotics, team activities keep kids physically and/or mentally active and develop skills. But they also give children a valuable early opportunity to learn about themselves and others, to develop resilience and figure out how to navigate their way in a society where many different personalities exist.

If your kids find themselves on a team of like-minded kids who gel and become best pals virtually overnight, great. If they come across teammates who are a bit harder to live with, better yet. Not everyone is born playing well with others, and teams represent a great cross-section of society. We adults know that a group of individuals working successfully together requires the development of certain ‘soft’ skills. What better way to teach our children how to build the resilience, mental strength, self-confidence, dependability, listening skills and empathy that life requires?

Ideally, bolder children learn that they are part of a larger whole. Less confident children learn to come out of their shells and contribute to a group.

A fairly seasoned soccer mom at this point, I can see my kids learning about discipline, focus and working hard toward a goal (literal or figurative), and making new friends along the way. But I also see them building confidence in social situations, realizing that wins come in many forms and learning to not let themselves get elbowed out of the play. (In my endeavour to raise polite children, I now find myself telling them it really is OK to “fight for the ball” on the soccer field, but that’s another story.)

Teams are great sources for inspiration, insight, improvement, imagination and innovation. I guess there must be some room for “I” in team, after all.

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