Former Viking Keith Nord addresses athletes

NEW ULM – Former Minnesota Vikings player Keith Nord was on hand at New Ulm High School Monday for the annual spring sports sign up to address students and their parents.

Nord, who played for the Vikings from 1979-86, said that parents really need to work at establishing a relationship with their children.

“When kids get older in high school, they start to drive, have their own friends and if we are not in a relationship with them, we will not be an influence in their lives,” he said. “When they have tough decisions to make we will not be able to stand up and help them.”

His second message – and one of the most important messages according to Nord – is that “we need to be parents and not their friends.

“Kids have cooler friends than we are,” he said. “Kids do things in a way that parents are not going to be approving of it. And if you are, you are working way to hard at being their friend as opposed to being a parent.

“We need to be a model of what they are going to become,” Nord said. “They are going to push away and give us a hard time but that is what life is all about. Kids need to move away from us first and then come back and kids always do that. But you need to be a parent – make that hard call – and if your kid does something wrong, discipline them. Do the right thing and do not expect the school or someone else to discipline our children.”

One of those aspects comes when a parent and student sign the sheet of integrity when they both agree to abide by the rules for activities.

For some people it is just a sheet of paper that needs to be signed and forgotten about.

Nord sees it in a completely different light.

“If I am a parent and I find out that my kid has used alcohol or smokes, which is against the rules – and if I do not make them suffer the consequences and the kid knows that, I have taught them how to lie and how to cheat,” Nord said. “You are teaching them values that you do not want them to have. Down the road when they are 35 or 40, it will come back again in their lives. Lapses of integrity look better on 16-year olds than 40-year olds. Then you lose jobs, families, spouse and kids. It is common sense stuff but there are a lot of parents who are unwilling to do that.”

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