What Parents Can Gain from the Donald Sterling, NBA Controvery

Donald Sterling is the current owner of the Los Angeles Clippers and he’s now embroiled in a complicated fight that, believe it or not, has much to offer parents. Sterling’s now ex-paramour secretly recorded, a private, at-home conversation as he expressed personal opinions and his limitations on her associations.  After she provided a celebrity gossip tabloid outlet with the recordings, Sterling has been deemed a racist due to statements he made in the recording, and Adam Silver, Commissioner of the NBA has banned him for life from participating in NBA functions, fined him $2.5 million dollars, and now pressing for a forced sale of his family owned franchise.

What does this story have to offer parents?

This situation, as well as so many current events, is loaded with opportunity to engage in thought provoking conversation that will not only be lively, but help to clarify personal ethics, character, principles, values, and morals when influenced by biases, prejudices, partial and uniformed consensus and popular culture.

As we groom our children to succeed, teaching them to become rational, critical thinkers is essential. The strength of the United States was built on free-thinking and thought leaders remain the innovators of the world. Engaging in dialogue that encourages your older elementary to high school children to think for themselves, have courage to draw personal conclusions, not automatically follow group-think but gather information, consider various perspectives, evaluate deeper principles, logically discuss many points, develops critical thinking and rational thought. It protects them from easy manipulation and builds the ability to analyze the world around them while defining their personal identity. It builds strong, rational, self-determined and confident adults.

Current events involving Donald Sterling, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus in contrast to others like Michigan State University basketball star Adreian Payne and his relationship with Lacey Holsworth can introduce topics of civil liberties, character, popularity, racism, censorship, cultural responsibility, consequences, mores, role models, and media influence to name a few.

To get into a productive conversation, ask leading questions and contribute thoughts that bring in another point of view and get down to core the issues. The point is to practice objective thinking and reasoning without becoming emotional, not necessarily to end with your childagreeing with your conclusions. Start out simply talking about current events especially if heard about on the news or radio while together, then introduce more thought-provoking questions into each subsequent conversation.

“What do you know about …”

“Seems like the popular opinion is… What do you think?”

“There are principles underneath, what other perspectives are there to consider?”

“While we might not agree with/like what someone does, what should be true for all of us?”

“What’s that situation mean to you?”

Engage your kids in discourse to get them thinking.

PS.  If you make it normal to have open conversations when they’re little, they’ll be much more inclined to continue to talk with they’re teenagers…


“Too often we… enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” – JOHN F. KENNEDY


Raising an Olympian: What parents can learn from “The Mom’s”/ Charlie White and Meryl Davis

“There’s no way we could have achieved what we’ve achieved without “The Moms”-Meryl Davis

Plain and simple. Children need parents unconditional love and support to maximize their potential. The greatest gift parents can give their child is to create the environment for them to succeed. It’s not complicated. They need rock-solid love that’s based on who they are and not on their performance. They need to know you believe in their potential. They need you to match their investment..and taking care of the unglamorous…in preparing the best meals, doing laundry, driving the miles, providing for their training, picking them up when they fall, crying quietly when they struggle, embarrassing them by showing up consistently, and beaming happily at their successes. They need you to build their character and teach them what’s most important about life. When parents are in their corner in this way, kids are secure and assured, enabled to move forward without fear.

“It’s hard to imagine getting to this point, without our moms. Time was taken away from other things they might want to be doing, but she wanted me to be able to chase after my dreams.” – Charlie White

“The Moms Life Lessons” :

1. You share the responsibility; enjoy the successes together and make it easier when it doesn’t go so well. (This is true of any partnership or team mentality)

2. You can fall and it’s not the end of the world. It’s okay to fall.

3. It’s okay not to win. (Contol the controllable. You can only give your absolute best. You cannot control the outcome. You will win some and lose some as the saying goes…)

4. Do what you’re doing right now the best you can and enjoy it. When you do that enough, those moments turn into success.”

Raising an Olympian? The Smart Guide to Parenting Any Kid to an Elite Level

ImageThe Games of the XXII Olympiad are approaching.  I overheard a daughter ask her father, while watching national level athletes, if she could ever go to the Olympics.  As families watch the Olympics, that question will be asked in countless living rooms.  My daughter watched the summer games and pointed at the screen when she was 4 years old and said, “I’m going to do that someday, Mommy”.  It happens.  As some of those kids show passion and natural talent, parents may find themselves actually having future Olympians or other elite level athletes.  In other cases, parents put their child on the fast track to success hoping to manufacture one.  So, what’s the smart way to raise a child to an elite level of anything?  No matter what, you want to handle your child well so they can become all they dream of becoming.

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1.  Perspective:  Begin with the end in mind.

  • Have clarity.  Be intentional.  Make decisions with the big picture in front of you.
  • Decide to raise a champion:  one who is capable and prepared to achieve much, not just a single goal, but continuously achieve whatever they decide to accomplish.
  • Dream big.  Start within your child; their center. Explore and fuel your child’s interests.  Identify and strengthen their natural talents, surround them with what they need, encourage them to see how far they can go.  Maximize their potential.
  • Life is bigger than any one goal.  While working towards making dreams reality, life happens.  It will go on whether the goal is achieved or not.  Be invested in the long-haul.  

2.  Plan:  Enjoy the ride.

  • Love your child.  The one you have.  Guard your relationship, their heart and soul over any aspiration anyone has for them.
  • Focus on developing the whole person.  It will serve them well to develop the mind, heart, and body of a champion.  Don’t overestimate talent and underestimate character in determining success.
  • Balance:  Allow your kids to explore, to risk, to try.  Let them be challenged, struggle, fail.  Don’t make it easy and don’t rescue them every time.  Have high standards and expectations.  Be neither too demanding, nor too permissive.  Reward the effort to learn, adjust, move forward.  Embrace the process not only the destination.
  • Expect surprises.  It’s best to do things well; to help your child lay a wide, firm foundation that will not only support specific goals, but will serve them in pursuing wide range of achievement.  Don’t rush the process, but pace through each course of development.    Wrenches, twists, and road blocks may cause the best laid plans to be redesigned and new goals set, but if the foundation is in place, the movement will continue forward. 

This begins a 6 part series of posts that will help you be a guardian over the right physical, mental and spiritual foundation being built into your child so that they can become the best they can be.  It’s what has to be in place for a child to move into elite levels of athletics or anything at a distinguished level.

I’ll be sharing my knowledge and experience as well as expertise from teachers, child development experts, sports psychologists, D1 university and club coaches and trainers to give you a simple, boiled down and practical grid of what’s important, both physically and mentally/spiritually to put into place during the elementary, middle school, and high school years to ensure success both in achieving great things, but also in life.

With rising champions in our house, we’re excited to watch the next winter Games in Sochi.  It’ll be on 24/7 in our house.  Looking forward to Rio 2016.  Go Team USA!



Parenting a Champion: first things first


“Do as I say, not as I do”.  Uhm.  Wrong.

“The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” couldn’t be more true.  Our children, like it or not, truly are ducklings and imprint on us.  They’ll follow us in every sense and we’ll see a reflection of who we are when we watch them.  This could be really cool….or terribly frightening depending on what they see after breakfast coffee and before the final brush and flush of the day.  

If we want our children to be “successful”; to be champions, then we need to put the oxygen mask on ourselves first.   We’ve got to make sure we’re healthy and strong so we can take care of the ones right behind us.  If you’re like me, this might suddenly be overwheming with an, “oh #$#&@ I liked it better when the pressure was on my kid and not me”, kind of reaction.  “It’s easier for me to push them than it is for me to look in the mirror.   I have no flippin idea what I’M doing, so how in the world can I help my child become the next phenom?!  The next anything!”

So, before you immobilize, keep this is perspective:  the first step is simple.  Decide to put the oxygen mask on yourself first. 

It’s a process, so just put it on, and take your first breath; a nice long, deep, relaxing breath. 

You only have to be a step or two ahead to lead.

You only have to take one step at a time.

I’ll help you.  It’s not really that complicated. 

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Just apply each principle to yourself first, then turn and guide your kids to do the same.  

The worst thing that could happen is you discover your own life again, move forward to accomplish something great yourself, and lead your kids to do the same…

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