Posted in Achievement, Beauty, Children, Confidence, Giving, Racism, Sports

The Greatest of all time!

I would like to say happy birthday to Muhammed Ali who I haven’t had the opportunity to meet, but his life has been a strong influence on me and I still admire him today.

He is arguably the greatest fighter to put on a pair of boxing gloves.

When I was growing up in the 70s I remember watching the wide world of sports on ABC with my brothers and my dad and we watched all of the great heavyweight fights from that era. I remember watching sports reporter Howard Cosell go back and forth with the champ and I remember hearing folks say that they argue like an old married couple.

Ali would shout about how great he was and how attractive he was. He would boast about his accomplishments and what he planned to do next. And he would do most of this in the form of a rhyme!

I didn’t understand the psychology behind his actions until I was much older. When I ask myself how many images were on TV that depicted African Americans in a positive light, my answer was not many. Other than James Brown proclaiming that he was Black and proud, how many shows on TV in the 70s brought this before America? None.

You see, if Ali was great and he matched the color of my skin, then subconsciously I had the potential to be great too because we were the same color.

The point is clear: Ali made greatness possible for every minority. The path he lit stayed bright for me and my pursuits. He saved me from a lifetime of hang ups regarding my appearance, my intelligence, inferiority and my possibilities.

I can because Ali could. And I’m glad he took the time to send the future generations a message. A message that I got loud and clear!

Thanks Ali! For me, you will always be the greatest of all time!

Posted in Books, Children, Health, Parenthood, Sharing, Sports, Taking Responsibility, The Family

Another school year in the books!

Well, it’s June and that means most kids (and some are already out) are wrapping up another school year. It seems like they just started school and now it’s over. I used to get caught off guard every time school ended for the summer. By off guard I mean every year I would say that I wanted my kids to be active and have a fun, educational summer, but I had no idea of what they would do.

I was so used to seeing kids go wild over the summer! Teachers even prepare to received these little wild ones in the fall. Someone had to put a stop to this!

I decided that it was time for my kids to make good use of the summer and as much as I wanted them to be active and have fun, I also wanted them to not stop learning. I wanted them to have fun learning and stimulate their minds as well as their physical bodies. Here is a list of five things that I have used in the past to accomplish this goal.

Summer bucket list:

1) Visit the library weekly — the library is a fun and inexpensive way to stimulate the mind of your child. This is great for the whole family. The library has a full list of activities to enjoy.

2) Take a field trip with the kids once a month and — dare I say — have them do a report on what they learned. I had to pay my kids for this, but they did learn. We went to museums, festivals and even a concert. These become great conversation pieces at the dinner table.

3) Have your children write a reaction paper to the movies they watch over the summer. They can discuss the movies with you and then put their thoughts down on paper.

4) Teach your children about the wonderful fruits and vegetables that come in season over the summer.

5) Cook with your children so they learn how to be self sufficient and they get hands on learning.

These are my top 5. You can also make sure they are reading books, they have chores to do regularly and you limited their television viewing. Kids tend to watch more TV in the summer than any other time of the year. More than anything else, make it a summer that they can remember. Don’t forget that you are building life long memories.

Posted in Children, Giving, God, Love, Parenthood, Relationships, society, Sports, The Family

The family constellation

The family is the most important institution in the world. It is the cornerstone of our society and an incubator for the future generations.

It is important to take care of this institution. Our future depends on it.

I believe that we need to apply some basic bible principles of love, collective work and responsibility and faith.

I compare this to a well-oiled basketball team. All the great teams have the same thing in common. Each player cares about the other. The work is shared and everyone wants to do their part. The group also believes in each other and the cause that they are going for — whether it be the championship or striving for the good life.

Each member of the team or family plays an important part. The guards are the first line of defense on one side and the initiators of the offense on the other side. The forwards attack and defend the baseline of the goal and the center brings balance.

In a family of five, one scenario could be a strong wife (point guard); oldest child (shooting guard); the other two kids playing the forward positions and the dad is the center.

Problems occur when some members don’t feel like they are a part of the team or choose not to hold up their end of the bargain. Family commitment is important and this is a good time to recommit to the health and welfare of the family.

Parents need to believe it! Children need to see it! And the world needs to follow the example!

Long live the family!

Posted in Accountability, Happiness, Health, Life, Love, Marriage, Relationships, Sharing, Sports, Success, Taking Responsibility, The Family, Uncategorized

Your love of tennis means nothing

It seems in these trying times we live in that it is getting more difficult to navigate our relationships. One would think that we all needed therapy as sometimes it seems that we can’t do anything right.

Either we are not working together or we’re going in two different directions. Or we are being to critical or not critical enough. We are too self-fish, too demanding, too righteous, too lazy … well you get the picture. I want to share a concept with you that may shine some light on how we are supposed to get along and how we can gravitate toward the positive and benefit both parties — and we do this with tennis.

Now I’m not asking you to go play or watch tennis. What I want to do is borrow a few concepts to make a point.Imagine your troubled relationship as a doubles team in tennis. To play doubles in tennis you have to know a little bit about the strengths and weaknesses of your partner. Not only do you have to know them, but you have to use their strengths and protect their weakness. Did you catch that? I said you must use their strengths and protect their weaknesses.

Some tennis players are slow moving to their weak side. Others might have a strong right hand, but a horrible back hand. When you learn these weaknesses and strengths you are able to set up your partner in a way that they are going to look like a pro. So if my partner is not as strong going to her left, guess who will play on her left side? You got it. Now, if I don’t play on her left side once I figure out that this is a weakness for her, shame on me!

If my partner has a strong right hand, then my job when I serve is to place the ball so that when it returns, it comes to her right side. Of course, it’s impossible to make this happen every single time, but you can manipulate that serve enough that it happens more than enough to win.

Why would I want to do that you ask? Well if I view my partner as truly being my partner, I have her best interest in mind. If you are not sure of this, you need to have a heart-to-heart with your partner and see if she or he feels that you hold their best interest. What a wonderful opportunity life provides if the significant other feels that you don’t have their best interest. Take this challenge and honor your mate by letting him or her know that you admire their strengths and you promise to protect their weaknesses. Humility will make them say it back to you. Where as love means absolutely nothing in tennis, it means everything in true relationships.

Tennis anyone?

Posted in Career, Free Will, Job, Sports, Success

We have no right!

I have been waiting to weigh in on a topic that is near and dear to me. I’ve been wanting to say something, but I wanted it to be received well so I held my peace. Sometimes it’s good to let certain things settle a bit before saying something about it. I am an avid basketball fan – especially NBA basketball.

 I actually love all sporting events, but I think over the years I’ve changed. Games are great to watch. I’ve even had an occasional bet on a game. I guess I’m a fan of sports because of how well I know that sports has changed many lives – both good and bad. The potential for lives to be changed for the better is almost worth all corruption that happens.

Sports have been the way some folks learn about life. It has been the ticket for some to go to college, become millionaires and even turn lives around. Sports have allowed us to witness the God-given gifts of men and women who excel through various levels. To watch Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan play basketball or Venus and Serena Williams play tennis or Usain Bolt run or Michael Phelps swim – well, you get the picture. Sporting events bring sports fans a lot of joy.

Recently, LeBron James decided to jump into free agency and sign a multi-year contract with the Miami Heat.  The reaction from Cleveland was clearly over the top. Once the announcement was made, Cleveland Cavs fans burned their LeBron James jerseys in the street. I was in Westlake, Ohio a few days ago and they were selling shirts which called the superstar the “Lyin King” among other things. I had not seen this much hatred since the owner of the original Browns football team decided to move the team away from the city. Ugliness ensued and the fans were left without a professional football team for a while, but the city was able to retain the Browns name.

Because of our love for the games and the passion that goes with it, I have found Ohioans to be very loyal to their teams. There are people who cheer for Ohio State that never even went to college. This was a shock to me coming from Michigan. I mean, I love the Maize and Blue too, but I’m not going to get into a heated argument after a game. When I first came to Ohio, a Buckeye fan keyed my car after U of M beat OSU because my car sported a Michigan license plate. I thought these people were crazy. They’d ask me each Saturday who I was rooting for and I would always say, “the Broncos” after my alma mater WMU. I would tell them that the game didn’t matter to me and that I just hoped we see a really good game. Even members of my former congregation would express their likes or dislikes on Sunday morning as to who won or lost Saturday night.

My point here is this: As fans we have the right to cheer or boo; to have favorite athletes and choose whose jersey we will wear. But when we start wishing ill-will toward our fellow man or wanting to do bodily harm to an athlete, we have crossed the line.

Earlier this year, now former UT coach Lame Kiffen left the school for the head coaching job at USC. UT fans showed their displeasure by publicly threatening his family, harassing his children and making statements like they hope his plane crashes on the way to USC. One fan said online in a statement, “Everyone is so upset now about this, but we need to let it go, it is out of our hands. Lame Kiffen’s day will come, just like the good ol’ book(Bible) says you do a good thing and you shall be rewarded, but you do bad thing and you will not be rewarded. Look on the positive side, we will get a better coach and our team will be #1 this year!” This quote is mild except for the obvious lie told on the Bible here. The good ol’ book as this fan calls it never says anything about good work always yields good rewards and visa versa. I though TN was the heart of the Bible belt?

This problem is widespread and we need to get a handle on it. If a professional athlete chooses to leave your hometown and go with another team and a few days later you are still stewing about their decision and raising your blood pressure as a result – or if you are getting so angry as to have thoughts of harming the athlete, you need help.

LeBron James is gone, Cleveland! You were not robbed and he does not owe you a thing. He made a choice that he felt was in the best interest of his family. Be thankful for the time you had him for. Be glad that a world class athlete played for your favorite team and gave his all. Be thankful that you got to witness such a talent. And above all else, remember that it’s a business and no one has to get your permission to do anything. When it’s all said and done, those of us who love sports are just fans. No more, no less. And we need to start acting like fans.