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Misplaced loyalty

I usually do not comment on current events, but my thoughts turn to the nightmare scenarios we are hearing concerning the sexual abuse allegations against college coaches. When the victims are kids, any abuse seems worse to Karen Coffinme. Intentionally doing lasting physical or mental harm to a child is beyond despicable. We, who deal with youth sports, must look after the kids.
Coaches have a special responsibility to protect the children they work with. Parents trust their most precious possession, their child, to us and we are honor bound to help kids, not take advantage of them. Sometimes, we are lucky enough to be considered “second parents” to our players. That speaks of healthy love and respect. Whatever our relationship is with players, we must behave as most medical professionals are charged: “do no harm.”
When I speak to groups of interscholastic coaches, the administrators always want me to stress the moral and ethical aspects of a coach’s job. Not everyone understands that the personal relationships between coaches and players must remain on a professional level. If you ask a young man why he wants to coach football and his answer is, “to get a chance to date a cheerleader,” the warning siren is activated.

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A parent's primary job ...

The vast majority of parents involved in youth sports try the best they know how to help their children. They want their kids to have fun, learn good character traits and have a positive experience when playing aKaren Coffin sport. In the last few years, sport parents have made the news for the wrong reasons: fighting with other parents, verbally and physically abusing officials, harassing coaches and putting too much pressure on their children.
These people are not the majority. They are ones who have lost perspective about what’s important. They’re teaching some very bad lessons, but the bottom line is that they are damaging their children. The “winning at all costs” mentality carries a very high cost indeed. It’s not the parent’s job to endorse that mentality; but to prevent it.

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A coach’s primary job

I won’t enumerate all the facets of a youth coach’s job. It would take an entire book and more. I will argue, however, that a coach’s primary job is to teach. No, it is not to win; it is to teach kids how to win. Most of that teaching goes on Karen Coffinat practice, and I’m going to focus on just one part of coaching: teaching a skill. If you are new coach or a parent trying to help your child learn, these techniques will help make the teaching easier and more successful. Coaching is harder than it looks.
It should be obvious, but it is real important to be sure you are teaching the right thing! Techniques may be different from when you learned or from what you see at the college or pro level. You can find all kinds of sources to help with what to teach. Books, videos, and clinics are readily available. Assistants and parents should all be teaching the same skill basics. Head coaches should not assume everyone is on the same page. Teach the adults on your team too.

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A day of thanks

“Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound! Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane It's Superman.” Yes, it's Superman ... strange visitor from another planet who came to Earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men! Superman — who can change the course of mighty rivers, bend steel in his bare hands, and who, disguised as Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper, fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way!
Between the radio and later television, I memorized those words at a very early age — not that I tried. Along with the Saturday morning movie serials and the comic books, that radio and TV intro was memorized — without any effort — by all of my playmates. We all followed the exploits of Superman in his “never-ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way.”
Recently, early one morning as I attended to my daily perusal of the nation’s newspapers, it was reported that Superman, the icon of “truth, justice and the American way” for 80 years will be renouncing his American citizenship. The publishers have decided that having Superman fight for “truth, justice and the American way” was offensive to some nations like Iran so the 900th issue of Superman comics will find Superman rushing to the UN to renounce his American citizenship, pledging to fight the good fight on a global scale. Superman even questions his longtime motto. "Truth, justice, and the American way — it's not enough anymore," he states.

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Living in the darkness

Recently I received an e-mail reminding me of a summer I spent in Oregon half a century ago. Fifty years ago, in the summer of 1961, I served as aKurt Borows chaplain and cave guide at Oregon Cave National Park. Four or five times a day, seven days a week, during my three months there, I guided groups of tourists on an hour and a half tour of the cave. It was my job as cave guide to point out stalactite, stalagmite and flowstone formations, fungus and algae, bats and all the other material, plant and animal life in the cave.

Toward the end of the tour, we'd come to a large room -- about one-third the size of a football field. The room was 3,300 feet into the cave (more than a half mile) and 186 feet below the surface of the ground. When everyone was in position in the room, we would turn off the lights and show people what that portion of the cave was really like in its natural condition … in total darkness.

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What role is left for religion?

Having left the most creative and inventive century in all of human history and now being a full decade into what has the potential of being a more creative and more inventive century, what role is left for religion in such a “brilliant and Borowsself-sufficient” humanity? Now into my seventh decade on this planet earth, I cannot remember a time when religious beliefs and Biblical ethics and morality have been under such frontal attack from so many venues. What then is the role of religion in this Orwellian Period of human history?
We know there is a role, for even the most casual observer can see what the movement away from religious belief and Biblical ethics and morality has done to this world and nation in which we live. Though many people still try to live by their religious beliefs and the ethics and morality that comes with our beliefs, there is enough attack on all things Biblical that we have been left with an open chasm of fear and rootlessness. In many of life’s arenas, humanity is like a house without a foundation.

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Public opinion is wrong as often as it’s right

One of my favorite magazines recently carried a fable about a man and his son who traveled to the marketplace with a donkey.Dr. Kurt Borows
As they started out, the boy rode the donkey and the man walked alongside. Some passersby shook their heads in dismay.
“The children of today have no respect for their elders,” they said. “Look at that poor man walking while his spoiled son rides.”
The man and his son shifted places. Soon other people passed by and shook their heads in dismay. “Look at that big strong man riding on the donkey while his little boy has to hurry alongside,” they said. “Some parents just don’t care about their children at all. Why do they have them?”
Soon both the father and his son were riding together. Along came another group of people who protested, “How can people mistreat their animals so badly. Imagine, two of them riding the poor donkey.”

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‘It is finished’

Recently I visited some extremely happy friends who had just moved into a new home. They had purchased a lot, selected the style of home they wanted, and then Borowswatched the progress of the various craftsmen who transformed the dream of a house into the reality of a home. Periodically, they would drive to the site of their future home, look at the progress and take a few pictures for their scrapbook. When I saw them recently they had just moved into their new home and they were extremely happy because they could now look at the house and say “It is finished.” A real sense of accomplishment!
Early one morning, I began the writing of this column. There were visits and appointments and a variety of tasks that captured my attention during various parts of the day. Late in the afternoon I was finally able to look at the typed manuscript and say “It is finished.” A sense of accomplishment!
Two thousand years ago, God’s Own Son, Jesus The Christ, hung upon a cross suffering and dying for us and, in the last few moments of His agony, Jesus was heard to say, “It is finished.”

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Talk to your children (and parents) about shared financial future

It’s Thanksgiving week. And if you’re fortunate, you can look around your Thanksgiving table and see several generations of your family. Of course, as you know, many types of cohesiveness are involved in knitting a family together. But one connection that Gary Coonfrequently gets ignored, at least in terms of family dialogue, is the financial linkage between parents and their children on one hand, and these same parents and their parents on the other. So if you find yourself in this “sandwich” group, it may be worth considering your financial position.
If your children are very young, you might want to start by emphasizing the importance of three separate concepts: saving, spending and sharing. If you give them an allowance, or if you pay them to do some minor tasks around the household, you can encourage them to put the money in three separate containers. The “spending” jar is for them to use as they choose, the “saving” jar is to be put in some type of savings or investment account and the “sharing” jar is to be used for contributions to charitable causes. You can extend the spending, saving and sharing themes by encouraging your kids to spend wisely, watch how their savings grow and feel pride in the work done by the charitable groups their dollars support.

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Improve your financial picture during ‘open enrollment’

Late fall marks the beginning of the holiday season, which probably means that you’ll have a lot going on over the next couple of months. However, busy as you are, you’ll want to take the time to review your Gary Coonemployee benefits package, since November also is a popular month for employers to offer open enrollment. And the decisions you make now could have a big impact on your financial outlook for years to come.

So, if you are in an open enrollment period, here are some steps you may want to take:
Boost your 401(k) contributions. It’s almost always a good idea to put in as much as you can, up to the contribution limit, in your 401(k) or similar retirement plan. After all, you typically contribute pre-tax dollars, so the more you put in, the lower your taxable income. Also, your money can grow on a tax-deferred basis, which means it has the potential to grow faster than an investment for which you paid taxes every year. At the very least, contribute enough to earn your employer’s match, if one is offered. For example, if you work for an organization that will match 50 percent of everything you put in up to, say, 6 percent of your salary, then you should contribute 6 percent of your salary — which is like getting a three percent raise.

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