Parents with this concern are often dealing with a lot of fears, the most serious of which is the fear that their son will be too effeminate. The thought paralyzes them and blocks the avenues to truth, healing, and restoration.
The son may not be athletic in the sense of not being cut out for football or basketball or whatever, but he does have a male physical body that needs development. This is what parents often miss. Not being able to play football does not mean parents don’t have to challenge their son to grow and develop physically in other ways.
Parents also fear their son will lose male bonding opportunities by not joining a team. This kind of bonding is vital for a young man and it most definitely needs to happen somehow. Parents need to find other ways—scouting, outdoor adventure activities, or other team sports in order for this important bonding and camaraderie to occur. However, the key to all the right kind of bonding is the first and most fundamental bonding that needs to take place between a son and his father. If that primal bonding occurs, the son will have no problems in the company of men later on.
Along with this fear is the fear of having their son ostracized and labeled by the more athletic types. This is indeed a character problem with the athletes, and so, parents and school leaders must always strive to correct it. The smaller the athletic program the more pronounced are the differences. Strong, consistent encouragement from mom and dad are crucial to the son’s overcoming this challenge. It is one of those life-battles that students must learn to fight.
Probably the most important way parents can overcome their fears is by continuing to discern their son’s God-given design and then direct him into the activities that align with that design, with the “way he should go.” As he moves into activities for which God designed him to succeed, he gains more confidence and courage. Success breeds more success and confidence, and soon that wonderful peace and well-being washes over him as the result of mastering something difficult. He then becomes settled and comfortable in his own skin, and now he is on his way.