Chapter 1

The C.H.I.L.D Game Plan
Opportunity is defined as being “a favorable time or occasion, a situation or condition favorable for attainment of a goal.” Every day, as adults, we are offered opportunities to help children grow into healthy, mature, productive young men and women. I don’t think it is an overstatement to say that, at least to an extent, we are shaping our future, the future of our nation, and the future of the world community by how we respond to these opportunities with children. After all, today’s children will be tomorrow’s doctors, lawyers, schoolteachers, military, clergy, athletes, government officials - and the list goes on. The opportunities are numerous, but we only get one shot. By that, I mean that children are children only once; they quickly become adults, and the overarching opportunity is gone.

A Child Growth Opportunity is realized when you recognize an action (or reaction) taken by a child (good or bad) that creates a moment for you to share insight and wisdom with the child. Children can surprise you from time to time. Sometimes these surprises can be pleasant, and sometimes they can be embarrassing. Your response, in the heat of the moment, can range from being very productive for the child to being detrimental to his or her growth. It is of utmost importance that you are ready for the opportunity. This means, although you may not know when and how the opportunity may present itself, you already know the desired end result you want for the child - positive growth in the right direction.

Kevin Curtis: I grew up on a ranch and my parents always found opportunities to help me learn and grow. It didn’t seem to matter if I had done something right or wrong; they were consistent in finding opportunities to teach me.

One of the most popular TV and radio shows during the 1950s was Art Linkletter’s House Party. The segment most loved on the show was “Kids Say the Darndest Things.” During this segment, Art Linkletter would ask somewhat innocent questions to kids ranging in age from five to ten years old and get spontaneous, many times hilarious, responses. These kids would make millions of people laugh while some of their parents would be cringing with anticipation of what they might say next. The truth is that kids will be kids, and kids of any age truly say (and do) some of the darndest things. It’s those times when kids do the “darndest” things that give you as a parent, guardian, grandparent, schoolteacher or administrator the Child Growth Opportunity to help that child grow. This book is about developing a game plan that will help you respond appropriately to those opportunities and even create opportunities to help your child along the process of growth into a productive and well-balanced adult. However, as any athletic coach knows, a solid game plan can never precede a solid understanding of the game. It is your responsibility to understand the game prior to working through the development of a game plan.

So what is “the game”? In this case, the game is represented by a series of opportunities, recognized or created, in a child’s life that can be used to help nurture, protect, and guide the child into becoming a healthy, well-balanced, happy and productive adult. As a parent, grandparent, guardian, teacher, or school administrator, you probably know that the best way to be ready for these opportunities is to have a plan. Your plan should put you in a position to help the child grow as you maintain your own balance of productivity, growth, and happiness. If you are winning your own game of life, you are in a better position to help your child…

… By developing and applying The C.H.I.L.D. Game Plan, you can be the one to change the course of history for your family. If there is something to deal with, rise up and do something about it. It may have been there for years, but the good news is that it doesn’t have to stay there. You can be the one to put a stop to it. You can be the one to choose blessings over curses for your family. You could be changing more than your life; you could change the family tree. When you work hard with a positive spirit, you are making a difference in the future of your family.

Steve Mariucci: My dad, Ray Mariucci, wrote this “open letter” to the local newspaper upon my graduation from high school. He was complimenting me for my accomplishments over the years. More importantly, he was giving me “a reputation to live up to” for the future. I decided then that I would never let him down. This was by far the best graduation present I could have ever asked for!

Dear Son:

I suppose a boy your age often wonders how he stacks up in the eyes of his dad. If my eyes have not already told you, perhaps I can express my feelings in this letter at the expense of some considerable over-emotion and sentimentalism.

How can I adequately express the feeling of pride I have for you not only as an athlete in uniform but as an individual out of it – the pride that is built up over a period of years in your dedication to athletics?

You’ve outgrown me by a couple of inches now, but it seems like yesterday that you sat on my lap watching the games on T.V. I explained the games to you then – now you explain them to me. Through the years I kept my eye on you. I’ve watched you develop, grow, and participate, and I’ve noticed many things…

I watched you devote your life to rigid training and clean living. I have seen you develop into a boy with spirit, confidence, and a will to win. Yet, along with this grew modesty, humility, and respect for the other guy along with a compassion for fellow players.

I’ve seen you cry and suffer silently in defeat and exalt in victory. There was no need to look at me in embarrassment when you thought you did not perform well, but I knew you always did the best you could.

And yet, there were the many times your play was outstanding – the homerun to win the ball game, the winning bucket, the second effort for the touchdown, and the final spurt to win the race. At times, I cried too – but with tears of pride.

I’ve seen you get a few knocks – at times helped off the field. And I’ve seen signs of pain on your face. I felt that pain too, my son. We used a lot of liniment nursing you through your aches and pains.

I’ve swelled with pride when the crowd gave you a standing ovation in appreciation of your efforts and performance. And how proud I was to be your father after a coach’s comment, “He’s the kind of son I would like to have!”

Then the compliments from different walks of life – the dentist with questions about next week’s game and the grocer inquiring about your health. I’ve seen your mother’s looks of pride, and I’ve heard your brothers and sisters boast about you.

You’ve earned these compliments, Son, not only with your fine efforts, but with your sportsmanship. I’ve seen you place yourself in the doorway of the opposing players’ locker room to shake their hands – in victory or defeat – and I’ve heard you pass a few kind words to your opponent’s coach. Never once have I seen you deliberately try to hurt an opponent or take advantage of an unfair situation. With all of this, you have earned the respect of coaches, officials, and opposing players.

Your concern and compassion for your teammates also show. What a heartwarming scene – in the middle of the court, your arm around a sobbing teammate who had just missed a crucial free throw in a championship game!

I’ve never seen you grandstand. Yet, I’ve seen outstanding teamwork and sacrifice on your part that has helped your team to victory.

I’ve learned from you, Son – about courage, loyalty, and fair play –
and I admire your optimism and your philosophy of life. All in all, you’ve made my life richer and more meaningful. For this I thank you.

I’m also grateful for the many rich shared experiences, the thrills and memories and the feeling of pride when you’re standing by my side, grateful for the absence of the phone calls from the police station or the hospital.

You may have a couple of broken bones and a few bumps and bruises for souvenirs, Son, but you also have a collection of a few trophies, medals, and newspaper clippings along with your established character to remind us that all of this was not in vain.

It isn’t that important whether you make All Conference or Most Valuable. The point is that up to now you’ve played well and lived well – a step toward desirable and successful manhood. To say I’m proud of you, Son, is putting it mildly!

Your Dad

You can be the one to set a new standard. Somebody has to be willing to pay the price.

Negative things may have been said. All it takes is for one person to rise up and start making better choices. Every right choice you make replica breitling bentley begins to overturn the wrong choices.

Create a game plan for your child today and lead them along the right path. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Our chief want in life is to find someone who will make us do what we can.”

Start with Chapter 2, and be that person for your child.

Chapter 1 Sample   |   Chapter 2 Sample  |   Chapter 6 Sample