As a participant or a spectator, sporting events can be a training ground for building character and discipline. Beyond the game itself, those choosing to gamble on the outcome of various sporting events has reached a new high in the United States. According to Forbes, gambling revenue in America hit a record 53 billion dollars, which is an increase of 21% from the previous year.
Gambling is now marketed to children as soon as they are old enough to play games on a phone, with many games simulating the risk vs. reward system found in real gambling. With the presence of online gambling, middle and high school students are now among those regularly gambling online. Teaching our children disciplines like self-control and diligence in completing a task to earn a fair wage is necessary in counteracting the instant gratification promoted by the gambling industry. Whether choosing to gamble on a game or not, sports fans can fall into creating a false sense of identity based on a team’s wins or losses.
In addition to modeling how to steward money well, here are a few questions to discuss as a family:
- Do I base my self-worth on winning? Feelings of excessive pride when your team wins can lead to a false sense of meaning and belonging. If the outcome of a game played by people you have never met affects your self-image, it’s time to reassess what you value most in life.
- How do you react to losing? Losing should never result in the loss of a relationship or affect the unity of a family. Moreover, losing should not affect the enjoyment of simply playing a game.
- Do you have friends that regularly bet on the outcomes of games? If so, what are the emotions that come as a result of a loss in money?