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5 Life Lessons from Derek Jeter’s Farewell Season that Dads can Teach Their Kids

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85th MLB All Star Game

Jeter’s physical skills aren’t the sole reason he’s revered by fans (even those hailing from Beantown). The soft-spoken star conducts himself in a manner unlike many modern athletes—a trait we can all strive for.

So dads who watch his farewell season on and off the baseball diamond should consider sharing a few of life’s important lessons from Jeter’s brand of “Re2spect” with their sons and daughters.

1. There’s no room for trash talk—on or off the field.
When Jeter trash talks an opponent, sports scribe, or teammate, it’ll likely be the first. At a time when too many athletes generate the wrong kind of headlines, Jeter’s gentlemanly demeanor is a worthy calling card.
Life Lesson: Teach the kids that common courtesy and an even temper don’t end on the diamond—it should carry over into everyday situations.

2. Just do it, (but don’t advertise it).
Even the most humble among us might brag about some of Jeter’s on-field heroics. His “tools” were always good, but not legendary. His instincts? Epic. Consider that flip-toss he pulled off against the Athletics during the 2001 ALDS. Yet you’d never see him thumping his chest after plays others might wax poetic in verse over. Grandstanding just wasn’t his style.
Life Lesson: Sure, teach your kids not to be sore losers, but more importantly, teach them not to be sore winners.

3. Ignore your critics.
Think your job is hard? Try playing for a sports dynasty in the media capital of the world. Every error inspires a headline, and three area tabloids are always ready to pump up sales by any angle necessary. A slump? Fuhgettaboutit. Jeter ignored it all, even when his love life became tabloid fodder.
Life Lesson: Dads would be wise to teach their children some of that Jeter-esque restraint as their kids navigate the sticky world of social media.

4. Respect your elders, even ones who might not deserve it.
“Saturday Night Live” once ran a bit asking if Yankees owner George Steinbrenner’s health might be in decline. The joke? At one time or another every Yankee fan despised The Boss. Even the George himself would probably understand why. But to Jeter, superstar of The Bronx, he was always “Mr. Steinbrenner.”
Life Lesson: Dads, teach your kids to respect their elders.

5. Focus all of your attention on things you’re passionate about.
Jeter said he’s looking forward to starting a family once sports retirement kicks in. That’s just like him. Laser focus on one thing—being an all-star athlete—then switch gears. Of course, plenty of athletes can do both, and do it well. But Jeter’s uncanny focus helped blaze a future trail to Cooperstown.
Life Lesson: Aspire to become great at the things you love most.

Photo credit: Getty Images

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