During the summer of 1971, I was a good-time rock and roller working in Chicago, Illinois when I read ten words that would forever change my life.
“Do not suffer your children to go hungry or naked.”
Those words, written by an ancient holy man, stirred something deep within my soul. Years later, when I began my journey as a parent, the importance of that directive grew more dear to me. Especially as I worked to nurture, feed, and protect my own children and every other child that came within the circle of my influence. Nearly forty years later, I am still replenishing the next generation.
Today is a tough time for children.
- One child in three is either obese or overweight.
- According to the National Fatherhood Initiative 24 million children are raised without their biological father in the home.
- One child in four is being raised by a single parent.
- 2012 marks the 24th conference for national and international professions from the fields of law enforcement, prosecution, child protective services, social work, children’s advocacy, therapy, and medicine meet to keep informed on how to best deal with child victims of crime.
- Research now indicates that too much time spent with video games are robbing vitality and rewiring the brains of our children.
Please note, I am not making any indictment upon the status of a good person struggling with the challenges of single parenthood. I applaud them. My suggestion is that all parents need more resource if they are to raise responsible children. It takes many parents and teachers, but we also need to improve the attitudes and process of our coaching.
44 million children are organized into sports leagues within the United States. The aggregate time that they spend kicking, diving, running, wrestling, swimming, batting and more, is in dire need of a new paradigm.
The billions of hours that we spend with children in youth sports represents one of the most productive times to guide children toward responsible maturity. But we could do a better job. Yes, we entertain our children but what do we teach them and how do we equip them for the future? Children are pushed to more and more activity. Parents are stretched between job, family, and need for quality time with children. The correct youth athletic program can bridge a vital gap for the needs of both; strengthen needed life skills for the child while easing difficult burdens for the parent.
I advocate a new way of coaching that honors every child and counts winning in more ways than points on a scoreboard.