Parenting Instruction Manual

I have always wondered why there isn’t an instruction manual on how to be a parent…It would be SO MUCH EASIER if we had one.  But unfortunately their isn’t one, so we get to learn, succeed, grow, and fail right along side our children 🙂

My wife shared this article with me this morning and is one of the articles that I feel has come the closest to providing an instruction manual for how to parent.  Had to pass it along.


What can home plate teach you?

I have always loved baseball and grew up playing and watching it.  I learned so much about life by playing this game.  I was a catcher, so I had a love/hate relationship with home plate.  I have never thought of home plate this way…and will probably never think of it the same way again.

I came across this post a few days ago, and had to pass it along.  All credit for this post and story go to the author of the original post.  you can find his post here:  I have copied the details of his post below.

In Nashville, Tennessee, during the first week of January, 1996, more than 4,000 baseball coaches descended upon the Opryland Hotel for the 52nd annual ABCA convention. Nineteen times since, many of the same professional, college, high school, youth, and a slew of international coaches from passionate and developing baseball nations have gathered at various convention hotels across the country for two-and-half days of clinic presentations and industry exhibits. Sure, many members of the American Baseball Coaches Association have come and gone in those years; the leadership has been passed, nepotistically, from Dave Keilitz to his son, Craig; and the association — and baseball, in general — has lost some of its greatest coaches, including Rod Dedeaux, Gordie Gillespie, and Chuck “Bobo” Brayton.

I have attended all but three conventions in those nineteen years, and I have enjoyed and benefited from each of them. But ’96 was special — not just because it was held in the home of country music, a town I’d always wanted to visit. And not because I was attending my very first convention. Nashville in ’96 was special because it was there and then that I learned that baseball — the thing that had brought 4,000 of us together — was merely a metaphor for my own life and those of the players I hoped to impact.

While I waited in line to register with the hotel staff, I heard other more veteran coaches rumbling about the lineup of speakers scheduled to present during the weekend. One name, in particular, kept resurfacing, always with the same sentiment — “John Scolinos is here? Oh man, worth every penny of my airfare.”

Who the hell is John Scolinos, I wondered. No matter, I was just happy to be there.

Having sensed the size of the group during check-in, I woke early the next morning in order to ensure myself a good seat near the stage — first chair on the right side of the center isle, third row back — where I sat, alone, for an hour until the audio-visual techs arrived to fine-tune their equipment. The proverbial bee bee in a boxcar, I was surrounded by empty chairs in a room as large as a football field. Eventually, I was joined by other, slightly less eager, coaches until the room was filled to capacity. By the time Augie Garrido was introduced to deliver the traditional first presentation from the previous season’s College World Series winner, there wasn’t an empty chair in the room.

ABCA conventions have a certain party-like quality to them. They provide a wonderful opportunity to re-connect with old friends from a fraternal game that often spreads its coaches all over the country. As such, it is common for coaches to bail out of afternoon clinic sessions in favor of old friends and the bar. As a result, I discovered, the crowd is comparatively sparse after lunch, and I had no trouble getting my seat back, even after grabbing a plastic-wrapped sandwich off the shelf at the Opryland gift shop.

I woke early the next morning and once again found myself alone in the massive convention hall, reviewing my notes from the day before: pitching mechanics, hitting philosophy, team practice drills. All technical and typical — important stuff for a young coach, and I was in Heaven. At the end of the morning session, certain that I had accurately scouted the group dynamic and that my seat would again be waiting for me after lunch, I allowed myself a few extra minutes to sit down and enjoy an overpriced sandwich in one of the hotel restaurants. But when I returned to the convention hall thirty minutes before the lunch break ended, not only was my seat not available, barely any seats were available! I managed to find one between two high school coaches, both proudly adorned in their respective team caps and jackets. Disappointed in myself for losing my seat up front, I wondered what had pried all these coaches from their barstools. I found the clinic schedule in my bag: “1 PM John Scolinos, Cal Poly Pomona.” It was the man whose name I had heard buzzing around the lobby two days earlier. Could he be the reason that all 4,000 coaches had returned, early, to the convention hall? Wow, I thought, this guy must really be good.

I had no idea.

In 1996, Coach Scolinos was 78 years old and five years retired from a college coaching career that began in 1948. He shuffled to the stage to an impressive standing ovation, wearing dark polyester pants, a light blue shirt, and a string around his neck from which home plate hung — a full-sized, stark-white home plate.

Seriously, I wondered, who in the hell is this guy?

After speaking for twenty-five minutes, not once mentioning the prop hanging around his neck, Coach Scolinos appeared to notice the snickering among some of the coaches. Even those who knew Coach Scolinos had to wonder exactly where he was going with this, or if he had simply forgotten about home plate since he’d gotten on stage.

Then, finally …

“You’re probably all wondering why I’m wearing home plate around my neck. Or maybe you think I escaped from Camarillo State Hospital,” he said, his voice growing irascible. I laughed along with the others, acknowledging the possibility. “No,” he continued, “I may be old, but I’m not crazy. The reason I stand before you today is to share with you baseball people what I’ve learned in my life, what I’ve learned about home plate in my 78 years.”

Several hands went up when Scolinos asked how many Little League coaches were in the room. “Do you know how wide home plate is in Little League?” After a pause, someone offered, “Seventeen inches,” more question than answer.

“That’s right,” he said. “How about in Babe Ruth? Any Babe Ruth coaches in the house?”

Another long pause.

“Seventeen inches?”came a guess from another reluctant coach.

“That’s right,” said Scolinos. “Now, how many high school coaches do we have in the room?” Hundreds of hands shot up, as the pattern began to appear. “How wide is home plate in high school baseball?”

“Seventeen inches,” they said, sounding more confident.

“You’re right!” Scolinos barked. “And you college coaches, how wide is home plate in college?”

“Seventeen inches!” we said, in unison.

“Any Minor League coaches here? How wide is home plate in pro ball?”

“Seventeen inches!”

“RIGHT! And in the Major Leagues, how wide home plate is in the Major Leagues?”

“Seventeen inches!”

“SEV-EN-TEEN INCHES!” he confirmed, his voice bellowing off the walls. “And what do they do with a a Big League pitcher who can’t throw the ball over seventeen inches?” Pause. “They send him to Pocatello!” he hollered, drawing raucous laughter.

“What they don’t do is this: they don’t say, ‘Ah, that’s okay, Jimmy. You can’t hit a seventeen-inch target? We’ll make it eighteen inches, or nineteen inches. We’ll make it twenty inches so you have a better chance of hitting it. If you can’t hit that, let us know so we can make it wider still, say twenty-five inches.’”


“Coaches …”


” … what do we do when our best player shows up late to practice? When our team rules forbid facial hair and a guy shows up unshaven? What if he gets caught drinking? Do we hold him accountable? Or do we change the rules to fit him, do we widen home plate?

The chuckles gradually faded as four thousand coaches grew quiet, the fog lifting as the old coach’s message began to unfold. He turned the plate toward himself and, using a Sharpie, began to draw something. When he turned it toward the crowd, point up, a house was revealed, complete with a freshly drawn door and two windows. “This is the problem in our homes today. With our marriages, with the way we parent our kids. With our discipline. We don’t teach accountability to our kids, and there is no consequence for failing to meet standards. We widen the plate!”

Pause. Then, to the point at the top of the house he added a small American flag.

“This is the problem in our schools today. The quality of our education is going downhill fast and teachers have been stripped of the tools they need to be successful, and to educate and discipline our young people. We are allowing others to widen home plate! Where is that getting us?”

Silence. He replaced the flag with a Cross.

“And this is the problem in the Church, where powerful people in positions of authority have taken advantage of young children, only to have such an atrocity swept under the rug for years. Our church leaders are widening home plate!”

I was amazed. At a baseball convention where I expected to learn something about curveballs and bunting and how to run better practices, I had learned something far more valuable. From an old man with home plate strung around his neck, I had learned something about life, about myself, about my own weaknesses and about my responsibilities as a leader. I had to hold myself and others accountable to that which I knew to be right, lest our families, our faith, and our society continue down an undesirable path.

“If I am lucky,” Coach Scolinos concluded, “you will remember one thing from this old coach today. It is this: if we fail to hold ourselves to a higher standard, a standard of what we know to be right; if we fail to hold our spouses and our children to the same standards, if we are unwilling or unable to provide a consequence when they do not meet the standard; and if our schools and churches and our government fail to hold themselves accountable to those they serve, there is but one thing to look forward to …”

With that, he held home plate in front of his chest, turned it around, and revealed its dark black backside.

“… dark days ahead.”

Coach Scolinos died in 2009 at the age of 91, but not before touching the lives of hundreds of players and coaches, including mine. Meeting him at my first ABCA convention kept me returning year after year, looking for similar wisdom and inspiration from other coaches. He is the best clinic speaker the ABCA has ever known because he was so much more than a baseball coach.

His message was clear: “Coaches, keep your players — no matter how good they are — your own children, and most of all, keep yourself at seventeen inches.”

He was, indeed, worth the airfare.

Who do you look up to, look forward to, and who do you chase?

I came across this video today and had to pass it along.  please take a minute and watch the short video.

I would love to hear your answers to the following questions

  • Who do you look up to?
  • Who do you look forward to?
  • Who do you chase?

What happens when we stop judging ourselves?

My 12-year-old daughter came up to me yesterday and asked me if I thought she was fat.  It broke my heart to hear her say these words.  I offered my thoughts around her question and in the end, with tears in her eyes, she thanked me for being such a good father and for inspiring her to believe in herself.  That is a moment I will never forget!

As I thought about this experience last night I was reminded of the principle I have been studying this week.  Our level of true awareness is directly related to our lack of Judging.  I realized more than ever that this principle has to start with our SELF-JUDGEMENT.  If we can’t overcome judging ourselves, how can we ever learn to overcome judging others?

We live in a world of judgement, of people telling us what they think,  and it is sad that the “judgement” of the world has put this belief in my daughters mind that she has to be skinny to be beautiful.   I disagree with this limiting belief and  want my daughter, my wife, and my sons to always remember the quote below:


When we stop judging ourselves…we truly find freedom.  When we do this, it doesn’t matter what other say about us, or what the world says we should do, or look like.  We live for us.  In the end…isn’t that what matters most?

Why do we miss opportunities?

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work” – Thomas Edison

What a true statement.  How often do we look for the big break, the perfect job offer, or the perfect client, and miss the opportunity that is staring us in the face because it seems like too much work.  

Opportunities do require attention and work…and are sometimes hard.  It has been my experience however, that these “hard” opportunities provide the greatest lessons and rewards. 

After all…”The hard is what makes it great”

Why Not Give Yourself The Chance?

This is a great post about investing in yourself. Had to pass it along.

“But we’ll never get the chance to see ourselves obtaining those things if we don’t invest our time and energy, into those subjects to make one fit its own imagination, into the physical form of their own lives!”

worthy ideal

Many of us have the right mind set and the right attitude to achieve greatness, but some of us are limiting our potential, which staggers us to make any progress towards our lives!

When was the last time you’ve picked up a book on your vocation? When was the last time you’ve made progress towards your worthy ideal? When was the last time you’ve invested towards your mind?

If you’ve enjoyed the results you’ve been getting, keep doing what you’re doing. If you’re not enjoying the results you’ve been getting, you’re going to have to do something different!

As Thomas Jefferson put it beautifully, If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done before

So it is critical for us to start investing within ourselves which will gradually change us for the better!

If a man has the knowledge to…

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You gotta want to succeed as bad as you want to breath

I found this YouTube clip this morning and had to share.  This 6 minute clip has a lot of great thoughts and motivation around goals, desire, and passion.  I typed up a few of the thoughts that stuck out to me.

“There will never be a point in your life, where its the right time to do a great thing.  If you are waiting for that perfect perfect moment, that perfect timing…its not going to happen.  You know what you have to do, you have to create the perfect time, and the perfect opportunity and the perfect situation.”

“If you are waiting on your next door neighbor to make it happen for you, it may not happen.  If you are waiting on your mother or your father they may be so ancient in their thinking that they don’t understand this opportunity you have, and if you are waiting on them it may never get done.

You don’t beg average people to be phenomenal, you don’t beg good people to be phenomenal.  you just ARE phenomenal and you will attract phenomenal.”

“I mean that what you did last week don’t count. Today, Today is the only important day.  There are 86,400 seconds in a day and how you use those are critical.  You got 86,400 today and what you do today is going define who you are.”

You gotta want to succeed as bad as you want to breath.”

What is the one thing that you want to succeed at?

What happens when we give our VERY BEST?

What happens when we give our very best at something?  How is this different than just going through the motions?

For me, when I give my very best at whatever I am doing I notice that I am always surprised at where I end up…and I usually inspire myself and others along the way.

This short video is a great example of this principle.


To my family…The world is what we say it is.

To my entire family,

“I have for many years endeavored to make this vital truth clear; and still people marvel when I tell them that I am happy. They imagine that my limitations weigh heavily upon my spirit, and chain me to the rock of despair. Yet, it seems to me, happiness has very little to do with the senses. If we make up our minds that this is a drab and purposeless universe, it will be that, and nothing else. On the other hand, if we believe that the earth is ours, and that the sun and moon hang in the sky for our delight, there will be joy upon the hills and gladness in the fields because the Artist in our souls glorifies creation. Surely, it gives dignity to life to believe that we are born into this world for noble ends, and that we have a higher destiny than can be accomplished within the narrow limits of this physical life.” ~ Helen Keller

One of the biggest desires that I would love to see each of you understand is the power your thoughts and belief’s have on your life.  If you think the world is amazing…it will be.  If you think the world is horrible…it will be.  Each one of you have the ability to choose how your world looks and feels.

Love, Dad.


How can we get life to slow down?

Why does it seem that life is so busy?

Could it be because we are not doing what we love?  What makes us happy?

I feel that the answers to these questions are unique to each individual and is part of our journey to answer if we choose to.

I have been reading a book titled “Unchain the Elephant”.  In the book it provides an insight into these questions that have provided me with some additional clarity on what I can do to slow life down.

“An amazing thing happens when you get honest with yourself and start doing what you love, what makes you happy. Your life literally slows down.  You stop wishing for the weekend.  You stop merely looking forward to special events. You begin to live in each moment and you start feeling like a human being.  You just ride the wave that is life, with this feeling of contentment and joy. You move fluidly, steadily, calm and grateful.  A veil is lifted and a whole new perspective is born.”  – Jes Allen

What sort of activities make life slow down for you?