NFL quarterback Tom Brady is concerned about his kids’ upbringing: He says he grew up solidly middle class, and his children are being raised on the sidelines of the Super Bowl with private jets at their disposal.
On a recent episode of “Drive with Jim Farley,” a podcast hosted by Ford CEO Jim Farley, the seven-time Super Bowl champion said the “hardest part” about raising his three children is keeping them grounded despite their family’s wealth.
“We have people that clean for us, we have people that make our food, we have people that drive us to the airport if we need that,” Brady said. “That’s my kids’ reality, which is the hard part, to say, ‘Guys, this is not the way reality really is.'”
Brady said he struggles relaying that message to his three children — who are 9, 12 and 14 years old — because his own childhood was so different.
“I grew up in, I would say, a middle-class family home in California,” Brady said. “My dad worked his ass off for our family. My mom stayed home, took care of us kids, and I saw my mom work every day to make food for us at night … Then I look at life with my family.”
Brady’s not alone in his concerns. Wealthy celebrities like Warren Buffett, Kevin O’Leary and Daniel Craig have said their children won’t receive large inheritances, in part because they want their children to learn the value of hard work.
Brady says he’s taking a different approach: He’s encouraging them to understand others’ perspectives and have “normal experiences” by getting them involved in athletics.
That includes competing — and arguing — with one another. Brady told Farley when his 12-year-old son asked why he had to play sports with his younger sister, he asked his son how it would feel if his older brother excluded him.
“When we’re good at something that someone else isn’t good at, have perspective … You’re not going be good at everything, either,” Brady said. “And I think [that’s how] you develop relationships with family members or friends.”
Brady’s method of using athletics to relate to others appears to be a good parenting strategy, according to experts. A 2019 study conducted by professors and researchers at Brigham Young University found that “adolescents who participated in youth sports had significantly higher levels of parent-reported resilience,” which included a sense of responsibility, social competence and empathy.
Brady acknowledged that his strategy isn’t a cure-all: He knows his children “still have experiences a lot of kids never have.” He said it’s important for him and his wife, former supermodel Gisele Bündchen, to “create experiences that are more along the lines of what most kids go through,” and remind the kids that their lives are full of abnormal opportunities.
“That’s the reality of being a parent,” Brady said. “You just hope you can show them enough things [for them] to realize that they [have different opportunities because of] Mom and Dad, to make our lives more convenient, and that is a treat.”