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Examining Virtue Signaling

Virtue signaling is the notion that having or expressing a particular opinion makes one morally superior to others. Virtue signalers communicate their virtue by expressing how much disgust or dislike they have for another’s idea or behavior.

When someone says, “I am above this type of behavior”, they most likely are not. When someone says, “I would never say or do that”, they most likely have.

We broadcast an image.

We play identity politics

We consistently operate within our own blind spots.

I have heard parents make value judgments about coaches that happen to be great husbands, fathers and citizens. Parent’s and other coaches have made value judgments about me without ever interacting with me socially. I know coaches that speak poorly about people they have never had a negative encounter with simply to virtue signal.

The side of ourselves that is honest seems to know very little about the side that is dishonest.

We have to try to be good human beings.

A few steps we can take:

  1. As parents, you are paying for your son or daughter to experience the adversity that competition brings. Work hard to avoid personalizing your son or daughter’s adversity.

  2. Make three positive comments about a coach, parent or player (other than your own) before making a negative one. The culture of your team will transform.

  3. If your son or daughter is not playing much, find three reasons they aren’t getting on the field that DO NOT include the coach’s IQ. Accountability will skyrocket and this is generally a useful parenting technique.

  4. Life is harsh, you never know what people are dealing with…If a coach or parent that is honorable exhibits uncharacteristic behavior, assume something is wrong. If you care about the person, try to help.

  5. Coaches have a hard job. We have the terrible task of sitting players on the bench that we care about. A lack of playing time is NOT a reason to treat a coach (that is a good person) person poorly. Behaving in this manner reflects poorly on you as parents. Understand that a coach has to make decisions he or she thinks will be best for the team. The decisions are not personal. Be openminded and talk to the coach about your feelings or concerns.

As as always....don't hesitate to reach out.

Next: Domain Dependance

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