Arizona Rubber

Arizona’s and New Mexico’s Authoritative Voice of Hockey

THE WHYTE STUFF: Learning to live how you learn is a valuable lesson


I was recently watching a Christmas special where Santa Claus’ brother was in charge of determining which children were naughty and nice.

Well, he stamped “Nice” on every folder, believing every child is good. They just get bad breaks or put in bad situations.

I believe that every child starts off good and eventually, life happens. Situations occur and innocence is slowly taken away. That’s growing up and dealing with the real world. Many adults do their part in trying to prevent this from happening for as long as they can.

I believe we have become a society of entitlement where everyone is treated equal, everyone gets their fair share. No one is held accountable and all children are right. A teacher, a parent, a coach or someone that is in the wrong place at the wrong time can be accused of something based on the perception of a child.

Where are the days where parents held their children accountable, and took the word of other adults when they said the child was in the wrong? What happened to the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child?” Trust me when I say I only have the child’s interest at heart – it’s the only reason I do what I do. However, their perception can be often skewed.

I believe hockey is the greatest sport on earth, mainly because those involved have common sense, know right from wrong, and believe in the morals and ethics that hockey provides. Recently, I feel we have strayed from all that is pure and good with this game.

One key lesson I learned as a young hockey player is if you truly want something, you need to fight for it. There will be obstacles in your way and countless people telling you “no.” It is up to you to fight through tough times to obtain the goals you have set. When I was eight, I was told I would never play in the NHL. I cried for days. My parents never went to that man to say what a bad person he was or how he devastated little Sean. They told me, “Then prove him wrong.” And I did! My parents turned a negative situation into a positive goal. Instead of looking for blame, they fueled my fire and passion to accomplish the impossible.

I was told a long time ago that you live what you learn. At first, I didn’t quite understand the comment, but later realized that what your parents teach you, and how they portray themselves, will most likely mold you into the type of person you are.

My father was the epitome of a blue-collar worker and we came from modest means. I fought my battles, learned my lessons and became a better person for it. Along the way, I learned to be a man. He and I have been the best of friends, and my mom, likewise. She would have loved to step in and make things right for poor Seany, but unless things were drastic, she didn’t and bless her for that.

A member recently wrote, “Last I heard, success was something you normally earn rather than inherit.” That resonated and inspired me. Parents, please know that if you truly want your children to learn and be successful, they must encounter the hardships and pitfalls that life constantly brings. Continuously sheltering them, fighting their battles and passing blame on anyone else will only create greater strife in their future. Hold yourself accountable first, then your children. If that is secure, then look to seek wrongdoing outside that circle.

I am not saying that a child’s voice should not be heard. I love to hear what a young player has to say and what they think. I am saying we are the adults and should come together to build that child’s future based on the harsh reality of what life truly brings us.

Sean Whyte is the director of hockey operations and coach-in-chief with the DYHA.

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