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 > Little League Online > Learn More > Newsletters > The Parent Connection > 2015 > The Parent Connection - January > Eight Lessons About Leading Kids from Derek Jeter’s Dad, Charles

Eight Lessons About Leading Kids from Derek Jeter’s Dad, Charles

Volume 3 | Issue 1 | January 2015 | Archive
Eight Lessons About Leading Kids from Derek Jeter’s Dad, Charles
For 20 years, Derek Jeter showed the world that not only was he a world-class baseball player, but that he was also a world-class leader. Exuding the sportsmanship and teamwork that are at the heart of the Little League® mission, Derek got his start at Westwood Little League in Kalamazoo, Mich., before becoming a star with the New York Yankees.

Supporting Derek along the way was his parents, Charles and Dorothy. Recipients of the 2000 George and Barbara Bush Little League Parents of the Year Award, Derek’s parents have been instrumental in the establishment of the Turn 2 Foundation. The organization’s mission is to motivate young people to turn away from drugs and alcohol and “Turn 2” healthy lifestyles, while promoting and rewarding academic excellence, leadership development, and positive behavior.

Charles Jeter recently shared his advice about leading children with Tim Elmore, founder and president of Growing Leaders. Here are eight important lessons from one Little League parent that might help your children grow on the field and in life.

Never let anyone outwork you.
Derek said he watched his dad work relentlessly as a substance abuse counselor. He never claimed to have the biggest talent, but he taught his kids to “work hard and never let anyone outwork you.” That way, it’s not about giftedness but work ethic.

Inspire your followers by doing what you want done.
Derek’s dad modeled the way in everything from optimism to passion to fun around the house. Derek said his proclamation that he’d play shortstop for the Yankees came from his dad who played college baseball: “I wanted to be like him.”

Don’t project on kids, but push them when it’s time.
His dad never once pushed him into baseball, but once he showed a passion for it, Derek’s parents helped fuel it. Many an evening, Derek and his sister Sharlee could be seen fielding grounders or taking swings in the yard with dad.

Be tough, but fair.
Like most teens, Derek had clashes with his dad, but he said later, “While he was tough, he was always fair.” Dad would explain the reasons why he’d set up the rules and boundaries in the house. It provided emotional security for the kids.

Agreements are better than rules.
Every August, Derek was presented with a contract drawn up by his dad on a legal pad, permitting him to play sports only if he complied with a series of expectations that included posting high grades, participating in extracurricular activities and avoiding drugs or alcohol. Derek never once violated that contract.

Explain your leadership values.
Derek remembers, “There were a lot of times when you clash with your parents, but they were pretty good at explaining things. When you’re a kid, you don’t always agree, but my parents were always good at explaining, ‘Why.’” This helps kids follow.

Err on the side of optimism.
Derek says the greatest lesson he learned from his dad was to stay positive. Even in his 32-game slump in 2004, Derek put his uniform on, expecting to get a hit. He’d talk to his dad every day about the potential of that new day. He knew slumps would pass.

Constantly express appreciation.
Derek tells us, “My parents have always been supportive—daily.” So on Father’s Day, he expects that he’ll tell his dad, ‘Thanks,’ but that is not anything unusual—Derek thinks that is an appreciative sentiment that should be relayed more than once every 365 days.

When you lead kids well, the relationship evolves from supervisor to consultant to friend. Their relationship has matured over the years, but Derek Jeter says that he knows with any pressing issue, his dad is still one of the two people he’d turn to first. “We’re more friends than anything,” Derek said. “I think as I’ve gotten older, you still have the father-son relationship, but we’ve become closer friends. He’s still my dad, but more so, a friend. I’d definitely go to him first with anything.”

How could a parent or coach want anything more?



Tim Elmore is a best-selling author of more than 25 books, including Generation iY: Our Last Chance to Save Their Future, Artificial Maturity: Helping Kids Meet the Challenges of Becoming Authentic Adults, the Habitudes® series, and 12 Huge Mistakes Parents Can Avoid. He is founder and president of Growing Leaders, an organization dedicated to mentoring today's young people to become the leaders of tomorrow. Find information on Tim and Growing Leaders at GrowingLeaders.com and @GrowingLeaders @TimElmore. Read more articles on leading the next generation from Tim at GrowingLeaders.com/Blog.
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The Parent Connection - January 2015 - Archive