Why Joe Paterno is NOT in my book!

At the risk of alienating anyone that is still defending Joe Paterno, Jerry Sandusky and what happened at Penn State…wait, I don’t care what such a person would think of this: I give you my top ten reasons why Joe Paterno is NOT in my book, Dad’s Playbook: Wisdom for Coaches from the Greatest Coaches of All Time!

  1. I want people to talk about and learn from Coach John Wooden, an amazing teacher and leader. His passing was the inspiration for the book. I knew what he had to say about life, communication, and motivation applied perfectly to what parents do. He got the best out of people with love, honesty, and respect. I included eleven quotes from him. Hard to play favorites, but who can deny how this one relates to the tenuous fine line a parent must walk between support and guidance: “Make sure that team members know they are working with you, not for you,” or the simple truth that “Young people need models not critics.”
  2. I want people to talk about how the best way to lead children is by setting a good example and modeling the behavior you want them to exhibit. I want dads especially to consider that rather than be demanding of children, it is far more effective to lead by example and offer encouragement. As Coach K (Mike Krzyzewski) describes, “When a leader takes responsibility for his own actions and mistakes, he not only sets a good example, he shows a healthy respect for people on his team.”
  3. I want people to talk about how children can learn from inevitable mistakes if we help them decipher the lessons in an honest, supportive manner. I want parents to consider that what worked for Joe Torre can work for them: “What I try to do is make sense, try to be as honest as I can possibly be, and be able to communicate. I think that’s the most important thing.”
  4. I want parents to realize the power of believing in your child – how that will help motivate him to achieve – and how instilling fear and doubt can have the opposite effect. Take it from Vince Lombardi: “Confidence is contagious. So is lack of confidence.”
  5. I want parents to think about how instilling the Golden Rule in their homes will help build unity, respect, and trust. As Lenny Wilkens explains, “You have to communicate with people, and respect is a two-way street.”

    Bill Walsh was a teacher – so are we.

  6. I want people to talk about the value of living in the moment in general and how that applies to success in parenting. It’s as simple as Mike Tomlin states: “Be where you’re at.”
  7. I want people to be make a concerted effort to enjoy their children and the journey of parenthood. For as Joe Gibbs attests, “People who enjoy what they are doing, invariably do it well.”
  8. I agree with John Madden that coaching is about teaching and encouragement – not about yelling. I want people to talk about how that relates to parenting and how we are all coaches and teachers.
  9. I want parents to be inspired to do their best. I know firsthand, parenting can be frustrating and tiresome. We need all the inspiration we can get. I want parents to be conscious of the tone and energy they convey and strive to model a positive approach to life for their families. As Don Shula confesses, “My responsibility is leadership, and the minute I get negative, that is going to have an influence on my team.”
  10. I think that what happened to the children and families in Penn State is sad and despicable. While I think we should all consider the role that money played in the cover up, and the role we play in the glorification of athletics and money, ultimately I think the best thing we can do for our families (not to mention our country and our world) is to stay encouraging and supportive of one another. As Phil Jackson reveals, “The trick is to experience each moment with a clear mind and open heart. When you do that, the game – and life – will take care of itself.”

The idea of this book is not to idolize these men, but rather to take the collective lessons they have learned through both success and failure, and apply it to our role in an effort to be better leaders, teachers and communicators. With over one hundred inspirational quotes divided into five sections, the central message encourages parents to create a supportive, team-like atmosphere in their homes – one in which people communicate with honesty and respect. Research has shown that when total strangers are told they are part of a “team,” they immediately start working together and viewing each other in a more positive light. Why not take that natural inclination and use it to your advantage in your home? If you’re like me, you’ll take all the help you can get.

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