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Parenting lessons from Kobe Bryant

Mentoring tips from the all-star MVP

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By JANE KINGSU CHENG 

By now, most of you are mourning the passing of NBA champion Kobe Bryant. He and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were among the nine who died in the helicopter that crashed last Jan. 26, Sunday morning, in Los Angeles, USA. 

Kobe won the hearts of many, including Filipinos. Social media posts are filled with tributes, thanking the “Black Mamba” for sharing his love for basketball to fans worldwide. He visited the Philippines quite a number of times, coaching kids and guiding them to reach for their own dreams. A father to his four daughters and a mentor to all, here are some words of wisdom and personal encounters from local personalities about the late Kobe Bryant. 

  1. Be present and mentor.

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Sarah Meier posted photos of her with Kobe today. “Over six years, you mentored me, challenged me, sat and listened to me without breaking eye contact, no matter where in the world we were; no matter how many hundreds of people were trying to get your attention.”

Kobe made sure to be “present” in conversations, despite his busy schedule. Give time, listen, and mentor.

2. Inspire and help them find their passion.

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Carla Humphries dropped by her friends’ event and sat down on a bench to wait for them. Like most women, she didn’t know much about basketball. This man just sat beside her and started talking her. “He asked me what I did. I said I was an actress and had just finished an acting workshop. So, I told him some of the exercises we did in class.” Kobe shared that he was curious and wanted to imagine someone else while he did his free throws. They talked for a good 30 to 40 minutes. “It was a brief encounter, but he made me feel important and respected what I was trying to do.”

3. Nurture independence and growth.

In a letter he wrote to his 17-year-old self in the Players Tribune, he reminded his younger version Huithat spoiling your children (family and friends) is not the right thing to do. Spoiling holds them back. “You will come to understand that you were taking care of them, because it made YOU feel good, it made YOU happy to see them smiling and without a care in the world — and that was extremely selfish of you. While you were feeling satisfied with yourself, you were slowly eating away at their own dreams and ambitions. You were adding material things to their lives, but subtracting the most precious gifts of all: independence and growth.” Being the head of the family doesn’t mean you shower them with gifts. “Use your success, wealth, and influence to put them in the best position to realize their own dreams and find their true purpose. Put them through school, set them up with job interviews and help them become leaders in their own right. Hold them to the same level of hard work and dedication that it took for you to get to where you are now, and where you will eventually go.”

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