02/03/2012 05:56 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

What Can Your Kids Gain From Watching the Super Bowl?


Curse words, hearing loss, sleep deprivation, a lesson in burping the alphabet from Uncle Joey, sure. But, also, lessons in sportsmanship, perseverance and loyalty.

Some parents avoid professional sports so that their children will not get caught up in that level of competitiveness. Some parents don't watch because they genuinely couldn't care less about professional sports (my parents were like that) and so it just doesn't really occur to them. Some parents (OK, mostly moms) grudgingly let their kids watch but feel uncomfortable about the lessons kids are learning.

I say use the Super Bowl to raise the kids you want!

Point out the big and small moments of sportsmanship. An opposing team member gives a hand up to a tackled player. Handshakes and even hugs happen between teams at the beginning and end of the game. If someone goes down and stays down, ask your kids why the players from both teams take a knee on the field wherever they are. Why don't the guys on the other team cheer? Or gloat? Or even just wander around talking to each other? Why do they applaud if the injured man gets up to walk off the field?

What does it take to get to this field of play? How many laps, situps, pushups have these guys run? How early did they get up on days that their friends and siblings slept in? How late did they stay up doing homework after practice? How many injuries have they recovered from? How hard has each member of the staff (coaches, physical therapists, statisticians, assistants) worked to be involved with this franchise at this level? Most of these answers are one quick Internet search away, but it's the conversation that will teach the work ethics we want our children to absorb.

Loyalty matters. Supporting a group or cause or effort because it means something to you is a great character trait. Sports teams are a great way to bond with a large group of people in support of regional pride.

Of course you can take it too far.

Feel free to point out the crazies in the audience (they always get camera time) who are wearing nothing but shorts and body paint in February in Indianapolis.

Watch the Super Bowl, or the World Cup or the World Series or the Olympics. Let your kids learn the great lessons that sports and athletes have to offer, even if they aren't athletes themselves.

Also, I heard that men who are sports knowledgeable earn up to 10 percent higher salaries than men who aren't. Don't know if it's true for women also, but it does make small talk easier at parties!

*Photo is author's own