The WordWhen I was approached to write an article for the monthly newsletter I was very excited. A passion of mine is to be able to share my experiences in the game with all who are chasing a dream. I am truly blessed to be able to still be involved in a game that has given me so much already.
A Must ReadI would like to share some insight into a topic that has been, and is still an issue in the game. I read a book recently called The Four Agreements, and a particular topic really struck a cord with me, and how it relates to the game.
Cultures are built on The WordIt is the first agreement of the four and it is to be Impeccable with Your Word. Now for all of us this statement has so many different meanings, so I would like to paint a picture for you. The author says that the Word is our belief system, that what we deem to be right or wrong, good or bad. If we have a teammate that is not pulling his weight or maybe struggling, the criticism starts to be our Word. If we are questioning the coach and his tactics we are spreading our Word to our kids, other parents or the board. The reference he gave was Adolf Hitler and how his Word changed the lives of a country to create one of the Worlds greatest tragedies. A rather dark example, however it gets the point across.
The Word can build or destroyWhen we are not impeccable with our Word, we are really being very irresponsible to the way we treat others. Our Word can cause kids to quit, coaches to resign and a team to fall apart. Not being impeccable is one of the greatest acts of egotism that one can demonstrate. My good friend and former teammate Sheldon Kennedy founder of Respect In Sport was so motivated to help others see the err of their ways that he has developed a program to show others that we have to not only be impeccable with our Word, but also that we have to make sure that others are being responsible with theirs. The screaming parent in the stands, the coach out of control on the bench or at practice, even the kids in the locker room all being irresponsible with their Word. We all want our Word to be heard because we feel we have the right to be heard. I have been a part of a team that had a coach whose Word destroyed careers, hopes and dreams of so many young men. Graham James was so careless and vicious with his Word that he has effected thousands of individuals.
For the kidsAs children and teens all we are trying to do is to get the approval or recognition from adults. We as adults fail to realize that our Word can shape their future. Whether or not they will believe in themselves, have confidence in all of their abilities or to go into a shell and be afraid to try to develop as an individual because of the hurtful Word. We as adults think that constructive criticism is a good thing, for a child who does not understand that concept and even early teens, it can be devastating. In school when a paper is graded, mistakes are highlighted in bold red ink, circled and the main focus. How does that serve the development of the youth? When they are at a critical stage of self development they are taught to focus on the negative and here the vicious cycle of the Word starts to culture until it takes over and the focus is to not make a mistake, that the mistakes they make start to define who they are. “He can’t score, he is not a great backwards skater, math is not his strong suit, or he struggles in science”, it is these spoken Words that define the individual because they are simply looking for approval. If coach says it, it must be so, if that is what my parents believe then that is what it is.
Think about itThe Word affected me, and I in turn affected others until I realized there was a better way, that I could use the Word for good. Since that time I have been “spreading the good Word” to every young person that I can, to coaches and parents, bosses and employees, it affects everyone. So, next time you are speaking the Word, think of the possible repercussions that it will have on the individual you are sharing your Word with. How would it affect me? Is a question I ask myself often. When you take that split second to think of the Word coming out, you will find that you start to feel better, and so does the person you are sharing your Word with. So start “Spreading the GOOD Word” and watch in amazement the effect it has on you and your children, friends, co-workers and spouses. IT WILL SHOCK YOU! Bob Wilkie I Got Mind Inc.