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LovePrints Smiles Project

LovePrints is the simple idea of adding love whenever and wherever we can. To love out loud. In adding love, we cover those we care in love so that nothing else can stick Each action of love, all love in action.

As a coach, I asked my teams to reach down into their hearts and generate smiles in the places they live. The teams would purposefully go into the schools, neighborhoods, classrooms, hallways, and their own homes with the simple idea of creating smiles wherever they were. Whether it was holding a door open for someone, taking care of an errand for someone else, a kind word for a teammate or even a stranger, these players would generate smiles each day. Some would take over a chore at home that someone else would normally do, or they would learn to do something that someone normally would do for them. They would assist the teachers, help out the custodial staff, or they would go and cheer for a team that they normally wouldn’t support. Each player would write a letter to someone they cared about, and they would share this with their teammates.

For my birthday this year, I do not want gifts. What I am asking is that you simply add love. SHARE YOUR SMILE!

For one day, simply take a picture of you with your Sunday’s best smile, and share it. Post it. Text it. Make it your profile picture, or simply make a post on social media with your smile and the words #smilesproject or #addlove or #loveprints . It wont cost a thing, and wont take up much time. I am smiling at the idea of all the smiles. That is what smiles do. That is what smiles are for. To be shared.

Remember that action without love does not accomplish anything good, and love without action does not accomplish enough, but together, they can accomplish anything.

Feel free to share this. Every birthday party needs more smiles. I hope that the day is filled with love and in that, smiles. Here’s to your smile, and mine.

 

 

Posted in Giving Back
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LovePrints. Dear Us.

Dear Us.

America, we are powerful. Our deeds have impact, as do our words. When we use them directly in someone’s name, it has more value.

Please, lets use them for love. Let’s use them for good. We deserve it.

Bullying comes in several forms, and none of them are purposeful or good. One such form is verbal abuse. It has several subsets, from face to face, untruths, and malice. In some cases, it is the devaluing of another person by not identifying them by the name given to them, or the name they have chosen. It is the dropping of names.

Why would you ever want to call someone something other than their name?

Put the labels away. Let’s use names. Let’s use love.

Generalizations are problematic. It is mentally lazy, and emotionally disconnected. Call people by their name. Say it to them. Give them credit for who they are, and what the name is for. It is being present enough to tell them that their name matters. We all deserve it. We are all worthy.

Use your words for good. Use your words with love. Call a person by their name and use love to do so. Identify an act by its name and speak to it for the good of us all. If an act is good, say so. If an act is not good, speak to the person committing the act and demand better from them, and tell them specifically why.

Use our names with love. Add a thank you. Add a you are welcome. Feel generous in using please. Feel free in using first and last names. (Leave the middle names for parents) Feel free to repeat them all, with love.

Every courtesy that we were ever taught starts with addressing people by their names, and by adding love to it by our actions.

Social media has created walls that do not need to exist. It has created voids that have been used to do damage and cause pain. Those spaces can be filled. Those spaces cannot exist when love is present. When confronted with a situation where your voice is required, find names and love before addressing it. Online allows for disconnected voices from the shadows. It allows for loud noises from the dark. Love can add light and cause a connection.

Your next post is important. Your next text. Your next call. Be the light. Be present. Be love.

Use your words to make the deed a love filled one. Speak directly, and specifically. If someone did something worth speaking on, say their name. If someone did something that requires questioning, say their name. Do not add them to a group. Do not allow them to remain nameless. Connect to them, their name, and do something good from that point. We need it. We will all be better for it.

Leave those group names and anonymous ghosts alone. Get personal. Give credit where it is due. Ask questions to where they can get answers. Give love to someone specific. Act in love to someone. Use their name. You want them to know that what you say and do matters. Be present.

America, we are powerful. Our deeds have impact, as do our words.

Please, let’s use them for love. Let’s use them for good.

We ALL deserve it.

 

Posted in Weekly LovePrints
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Your LovePrint is exactly what someone needs right now.

You are exactly what someone needs right now.

Imagine that.  Someone needs exactly what you have to offer right now. They will cross paths with you, and they are ready for you to fill the void of the day. Or of the moment. Or of a lifetime.

It can be a smile that makes the bad experience go away. It can be the connection that reminds us all that we belong, we matter, or that someone cares. Your smile can be the perfect smile. It is the perfect smile.

It can be a hug that makes us feel protected, acknowledged, or involved. It can close the gaps caused by the past, or it can be another opportunity tomorrow. The hug is a wonderfully consistent medication for a lot of what ills us. Your hug makes everything better.

It can be the voice of reason, the voice of logic, or the voice with exact the information required to make things move forward and up. That voice can be the perfect explanation of why, the directional leadership to how, and the confirmation that why we do what we do is right and good. Your voice is the perfect pitch, and music to ears in need.

It can be the added question that leads to clarity, or it can be the insight that allows us to make a decision that has been lost by chaos. It can be the answer to the one question that has provided doubt and hesitancy. Your voice has the power.

It can be an open hand that elevates, it can be a push or a pull, or support for those in need. That hand can lessen burdens, it can lead a partner to the right path, or the pointing of a new direction and way. The hand can applaud with another hand, it can alter what would be a bad decision, and it can be the acknowledgement that something wonderful is happening or going to happen. It can be a hand up, a hand out, or a helping hand. Your hand is steady and strong.

It can be an ear that pays attention, acts as a sounding board, or the place where a great or bad idea goes for testing. It can be the resting place for a great story, and awful joke, a question that does not need answering, or a place to just be heard and considered.

It can be you. Simply you. It can be you occupying space, being in the right place, or simply sharing your wonderful face. It is often you. Just you. Being you.

Pay attention to your space. Often, you are where you are for a reason. A good reason. Exactly what you have to offer, is needed.

Have some love with you when you get there.

Love always is welcome and needed. That’s who you are.

Posted in Weekly LovePrints
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Why do student athletes fail? The question may be the problem.

Why do Student Athletes fail? The question may be the problem.

They don’t. The adults fail.

Student Athletes are products of the adults that love them (or don’t). Student Athletes live in a vacuum of adult created and crafted vacuums, each one filled with mixed messages, confusing priorities, and adult angst. Let’s get to the gut of it all. Adults identify (or don’t) the priority. Adults finance the space (or don’t). Adults are hired to achieve said priority (or don’t). Adults create and raise the student athletes, giving them love, purpose, love, goals, love, belief, love, and support (love).

Now that we have identified the new focus of academic failures, we can work to fix the problems. (Adults). Here is the plan: Keep the first thing first. These are student athletes, not athlete students. When done extremely well, they are SCHOLAR ATHLETES (Yes, I dare to set higher standards). Once the adults agree that the student comes before the athlete, then the path to succeeding at the first thing clears. There are fewer obstacles. There are fewer questions.

Adults, please remember moving forward (and up) that ACADEMICS is the thing. Academics is the key to love of self and others. It is the gift to one’s self that keeps on giving. It opens doors, it finds solutions, and it is a statement that the student is love, and loved enough to improve and add to society, community, and the planet. Practice this statement with your students “Learning is love”.

Adults build the communities, schools, and fields. If the academic focus and priority is clear, decisions about them become simple. What is the first thing? How do we make it better? Is it working? Is it love? Yes, love will be a constant in this. Love of self, family, community, school, others and planet. “Learning is love”. Teaching is also love. The giving of knowledge and information may be one of the great blessings known to mankind. The accepting of that love is the sign of intelligence that is carried throughout life. The openness and willingness to be taught, to accept information, to be questioned, heard, considered, and pondered is how invention and creation are born. And, reborn. Feed love. Love feeds.

When those schools are built, “This is where love lives” should be on every building and in every classroom. These words should be in every teacher contract and on every desk. Adults in place should be asked if they love themselves before being given the responsibility of loving our young futures. They should be asked if they love their students. They should be asked if they love what they are teaching and sharing. This ensures the reinforcing of the positive and loving environment that learning needs, and deserves.

When adult coaches are hired, ask them if they know what is THE focus is. (Academics) Ask them what should they focus on when the first thing and ANY other thing conflicts with it. (Academics) Ask what they are being paid for. (Academics) Ask again, what comes first? (Academics). Then celebrate them when they succeed at it. Celebrate them when the thing that comes first is KEPT first. Celebrate them when the love that they have is shared, repeated, and multiplied. Celebrate them!

When adult teachers are hired, ask them the same questions what comes first? (Academics) Then, ask again. Remind them that they are there to love someone’s, everyone’s young people, and to teach them. They are there to love them, even when they do not feel like loving them, or self. Does their love show in their lessons, in their planning, and in their daily connections? Does love appear on the faces of the students, and do the students leave their classrooms in more love than when they got there? Do the students ask questions, do they smile, and do they say thank you? The adults own the room, they are the keepers of time, and the directors of the lives they touch daily.

When the adults send the students to school, is there love on them already? Love comes in all sizes and colors. Love can be a few hugs before and after school. Love can be authentic questions about the day before, the day of, and what the next day holds. Love can be a kiss on the head during study time, it can be a text during the day to remind them of love of themselves and from home. Love can be an email to the teacher or coach saying thank you, one to the student confirming pride and support, or a text to yourself reminding you to send love later. Love can be ten minutes each week with no cell phones and just two smiles, yours and theirs. Love can be acknowledgment that you understand what they are going through because you were them, once.

When the schools, teachers, coaches, parents, and community all state constantly and consistently what they focus is, that is what it will be. When each of them remember that the system is simply the fence posts in place, each one needing the other to help boundary great young people into greater old people, the fence keeps the priority in place. When one post loosens, the others should feel a tug when resistance happens. When a student strays from the path, the posts are pulled with them, signaling to them all that reposting is needed. When the adults remember what the focus is, focus becomes clearer. It is up to the adults to not fail. As coaches are prone to say, “Win or learn. Never lose.”. Once the adults learn that it is STUDENT ATHLETE, winning happens. Some would say that learning leads to winning.

I cannot wait until the adults learn. The student athletes are trying to win. They need our help. And, our love.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Parents
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Its only just a game.

It is only just a game.

I said it. Its only just a game.

When caught up in the emotion of the moment, it is sometimes easy to forget that it is just a game. Even if it your job, it is still just a game. Even if it’s the most important game of the season that week. Or that season. Or that career.  It is only just a game.

If you are in little league, as a coach, parent, fan, official, or player, it is just a game. It is not going to determine your draft status, scholarship offer, financial tax bracket, or your reputation. It is just a game. It simply isn’t. Go to class. Have some laughs. Learn how to make friends. Allow yourself to grow up. Enjoy the orange slices and juice boxes. Chase butterflies on the field, and turn your back to the play. Enjoy yourself. Parents, feed them. They are growing. That includes on the field and off. Coaches, be delicate. Important cargo on board.

If you are in middle school, it is just a game. It does not matter what the wins and losses amount to. It is just a game. It does not matter how many points Jr. scored against another 8th grader. Alabama does not care. Neither do the Washington Nationals, Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Yankees, or Montreal Canadians. There are too many more games to be played to award you their time, money, or energy. Relax mom and dad, they will find out about your child when they are old enough. Go to class kids. Listen to music. Amaze your parents with how fast you are growing. Check on their class work parents. Ask them how their day went. Deliver them to high school with a smile coaches.

If you are in high school, it is still just a game. Everyone knows the numbers on the small percentage of athletes that move on to the next level. (3%) Everyone knows the numbers on the larger percentage of students who move to the next level. (65%) Everyone should know the number of parents whose behavior makes their young people unattractive to colleges. High school coaches who understand that its just a game might get asked to pack up and move up to college athletics. Parents can only hinder their young person from going. The way for them to help is to love them, cheer for them, and then hand them over to the game.

If you are in college, it is still just a game. You aren’t paid. It is not your job. (I know, this is the topic for another piece!)  One percent of college athletes go pro at all, and usually not for long. ONE PERCENT. If you are a college coach, it is still about the young people. Prepare them for life in the majority. Give them skills to succeed in life, and off the field. That is why they are there. To be prepared for life away from the game is the focus. The game is just added value. Added and valued experiences and knowledge. The disciplines learned, the socialization, the maturity of hard work, time management, dating, social media exposure, diet, exercise, and mental health maturation are all learned here. This is the coronation. Celebrate it. Enjoy it. Understand that while the game may have been fuel for the journey, it is not the reason for the journey. Parents should be in release mode. Stand and applaud all that has been done, all that has been learned, and all that has been achieved. Coaches, deliver them into life with a smile. Enjoy your paycheck. Enjoy your exposure. Its still just a game.

Professionally, Its still just a game. While it is your job, it is not your life. Who you are is not what you do The game leaves you. The game ends. The crowd dwindles, and so does the payday. You resort back to your adolescent days. You have some goals still unfulfilled, and some reason to get out of bed daily. Athlete, player, coach, parent, or fan, it ultimately is a game that is taken way from you because it is just that. A game.

 

 

Posted in Weekly LovePrints
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Why are people so mean and rude?

Why are people so mean and rude?

It is a common thing to see, read, hear, or witness mean behavior. It should not be common. Online rudeness is so common that it has bled over into our offline lives. It is bordering on becoming the norm, and that simply needs to be corrected. Mean and rude cannot be the standard. Mean and rude must be identified, addressed, and corrected. It is a learned behavior, and can be unlearned.

Some will say that mean and rude are the same thing. I tend to think that rude is a lack of value of others, an unawareness of someone else’s feelings, and behavior (action and verbal) that is hurtful and disconnected. I believe that mean behavior is the purposeful and intended devaluing of another person. It has the direct and desired intent to hurt, harm, or cheapen the value of another person.  Both are wrong behaviors. Both can be adjusted.

Mean and rude appear in bullying, racism, sexism, and several other behaviors that allow the person to disconnect from someone else. It brings negative thoughts into action, and rarely serves for the higher standard of interaction. It is in the words of speeches used to spread hate, fear, and doubt. It is in the actions of those who are in pain themselves, a way to make their pain transfer to someone else, anyone else. It rarely does so, but that’s for another time.

To identify why people are mean or rude starts with asking why the pain, fear, and doubt exist. That seems to be a good discussion starting point. Behavior is a mirror to spirit, and meanness and rudeness are closely tied to the pain of the vehicle. The lashing out is a call to inner pain, HEAR ME, FEEL MY PAIN, and it can and should be addressed then by those present. Acknowledge the pain, question the pain, help in the healing. Who hurt you? Why are you mad? Does this help? What is the reason why? Ask. There may be an answer. There may also be a resolution. It is always a mirror.

Identifying the reason is crucial to knowing if this is rude (unaware/disconnected) or mean (intended/connected). To know if causing pain is the goal is helpful. Why are you doing this? Do you understand what you are doing? Often, it is mindful retribution for an act unknown to the person on the receiving end of the behavior. It can be an open call to remember the pain of the person involved. It most certainly requires someone pointing out what their behavior is, and whether it is appropriate or not. Tell them that it is not.

What often happens is that the adults in the room do not speak out when these behaviors are happening, or when these behaviors are witnessed. I say adults in the sense that maturity allows for people to identify when their actions are mean or rude, and that modifies the behavior. It is only when emotional maturity is missing in the behavior or the environment that allows it to be unchecked and unmonitored. That may be as much part of the problem as anything else. The lack of people to check and monitor the behavior. It is then allowed to grow, strengthen, and even prosper.

Here is a simple resolution. Love the mean and rude people. Be present. Pay attention. Love out loud. Care enough to tell them what you see. Tell them how you feel, and how the person they are attacking feels. Care enough to not allow the behavior to continue. Be present. Present allows for marking the behavior in its clear element. As it happens. Care enough to not allow the behavior to be a part of your presence. That is the simple resolution. Be present. Point out the behavior. Identify its purpose. Love forward.

This behavior needs air to exist. Do not let it in. Do not let it out. End it. Love will win. Love it away.

Posted in Weekly LovePrints
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LovePrints 168. “I do not have the time.” Yes, you do. We all do.

168. 24 hours a day. 7 days a week.
 
We all have the same amount of time to accomplish everything we need to. The 4.0 student and the 2.0 student have the same amount of time. The CEO and their employees all have the same 168. The mom, dad, and child all have the same 168. It is what they do with and in their 168 that determines who they are. It also determines how they got there.
 
The greatest excuse for not getting things done is “I simply do not have the time.” The time is there. Its whats done with your time that matters. Once the priority is determined, directing time to it is easy. Imagine trying to drive somewhere without having the address, it is far more difficult to get there without it. No GPS can help you get anywhere without a destination.
 
The 168 program has several ways to help you as teachers, parents, students, and coaches. It simplifies the process, makes talking about it easier, and removes the chaos of last minute homework issues, project delays, unfinished assignments, and lack of communication between the student and the adults that love them.
 
I recently spoke to a team of players, coaches, and parents. I asked them all if they had spent more time together talking to each other about academics or dating. Academics or music. Academics or television. A silence took over the room. What you give time to becomes the priority. What you ignore, fades. The 168 allows the adults to talk to the students in an informed, productive, and positive way.
 
What do you talk to your students about?
 
Use your 168 wisely. Make sure that there is room for love.
 
Enjoy the video. More information on the website. WWW. LOVEPRINTS.US
Posted in Giving Back, Programs
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LovePrints. Coach DP. A story of “WHY?”

LovePrints are powerful. When we recognize that these moments strengthen us for tough times, highlight the good times, and are the foundation for why we do what we do, we calm and able to move forward and up. This is a story of the “WHY?” This is a purpose. This is a miracle. This is a LovePrint.

 

Posted in Weekly LovePrints
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LovePrints. T’is the season, for the reason.

The reason for the season.

The season of giving.

The season of love in action.

The season to action in love.

No matter what words you use to acknowledge this time of year, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyeux Noel, Happy Holidays, Happy Kwanzaa, or other, it is an act of love when said. It is an acknowledgement of someone else, their presence, their well-being, their life. It is an act of love out loud, and it is beautiful.

What makes this time year special is the constant reminder and reason to be better towards each other. It’s the acts of giving, the appreciative receiving of love and consideration, and the consistent thinking of others as we go along. Every gift is an act of love, and with each gift, two people exchange a piece of the other to take with them into their day. They are both better for it. That is the blessing. That is the gift.

I hope that you give and receive love in these days, and the next. I hope that your gifts are given and received with a smile, requires no receipt, and is appreciated. It is my wish that no one goes without something being put into their hands, or given from their hands. It would be wonderful if we all gave more, got more, and have enough.

Please do not forget smiles and hugs in these gifts. They are important and needed. Give and receive them freely in these days. They make us better. They make us stronger. They make us more loving. That is the purpose behind LovePrints. To cover one another in love, one act at a time. To cover ourselves so much in love that nothing else can stick. To act in love. To be love in action. To love out loud. To be love. To be loved.

No matter how you say it, or hear it, it is the season of love, and LovePrints.

I hope that you are sharing your LovePrints. I hope that you are being covered in them. That is why we are here. To love, and be loved.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and an amazing 2018 to you and yours. To us all, LOVE.

Posted in Weekly LovePrints
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LovePrints. Bullying, and how love can beat it.

Love in action. Action in love. Love out loud.

The trending activity for our young people is not a good one. It is a fear and anger based action. It requires silence, inactivity, ignorance, and an obvious disconnect. It requires constantly choosing to not be present. It is an empty vacuum. It is a lack of light. It is a lack of vision. It is a lack of purpose. It is bullying.

I know that this is not new. I know that bullying is as old has nature itself. I do not care if you call it, the thinning of the herd, the thickening of skin, the toughening of the clan, or any of the other thing, it happened before this generation, and will sadly happen in the next. Some of it is code speak for conquer now, consider later. Some of it is based on the idea that the weaker need to move out of the way of the stronger, faster, richer, smarter, and often, meaner. It is mental laziness.

Here’s where I stand on this. As a parent, my forehead wrinkles up at any kid being bullied. If I was not present and my child is bullied, I would hope and pray that the young people involved have been covered in enough love to know that this is not love. It is my hope that at least one of them have some love to spare, some love to give, and some clue that whatever is going on is not a good thing. I hope that at least one other person present recognizes pain, seeks to end it, avoid it, or make it better. I hope. I pray.

As an adult, I stand up, stand in, and am heard. I simply do not have it in me to stand silently and watch pain happen. I also refuse to put another thing in with the pain. It does not matter if it is an animal in pain, a child in pain, a woman in pain, or a brother in pain. If I can do something to make the situation better, I should do so. I would do so. In the age of grabbing a camera and hitting record as the pain happens, I am still in the family of standing up, speaking out, and ending the pain. That is what I hope. I pray.

As a husband, I simply believe that my first task each day, and last task each day, is love. It is my mission and goal to keep the home pain free, especially by me. It is a daily choice to love out loud, action in love, and be love in action. That keeps it simple for me. A home should be pain free. It should be covered in love. When my wife leaves the house, she has enough love to carry her through her day until she returns home. She has enough love to add to any situation. When the day has drained her of love, LOVE LIVES HERE. That is what I hope. I pray.

As a coach, I am tasked with covering other people’s young ones in love. How awesome is that? Pretty amazing, right? That is why I coach. I get to love more, and if I do it right, loved more. When I see a player in pain, I cover them in love. When there is an act out in pain, I cover them in love. Every player that I have ever coach knows that I love them, and I hope that they love themselves as well. I make a point to have my players action in love away from the game. Away from the team. Away from their family. They should be covered in love, from within, and from those they share themselves with. I pray that they get so much love at home, at school, at practice and games, and in the neighborhood, they should have plenty to share with others. They should have enough to ease the pain of anyone around them. They should recognize love, and with that, are able to recognize the other when they see it, hear it, feel it. They should know that the right thing is to ease the other persons pain with an act of love. They should know that action can be a smile, a hug, and kind word, or just listening. I hope. I pray.

I mention home, school, and neighborhood because if a love vacuum exists in any of those places, it needs to be filled by love from somewhere. Whether it’s a teacher, a faith leader, a mentor, a neighbor, or a coach, that vacuum can be filled with love so that nothing else can occupy it. This is how bullying can be defeated.  Bullying can not live where love is. Love wins. Bullying is defeated.

Did I say defeated? That’s the coach in me. When confronted with an opponent, I plan to defeat it. I find its weakness, and capitalize. I try to understand its strength, and find a way to make that a weakness. I try to know why the opponent is being successful and strip them of it. That’s how my brain and heart works.

I know where bullying starts. It can be at home, where pain can be louder than love. It can be in the words and actions of the adults that live there. It can be on the school bus, at the school. In the hallways, in the classrooms, in the locker rooms, or in hallways where no one is watching. No one is there who can act in love. It can be on social media. It can be the words that they read by adults who say that its ok to berate, its ok to be mean, its ok to gang up by power in numbers. It can be in the private text messages, group chats, or face to face when no one else is around. It requires a disconnect. It requires darkness. It requires forgetting that love is why. Love has to be why.

What I know is that love and fear cannot occupy the same space. Where love is, fear can not be. Where love is, hate can not be. Fear is a lie, and a prison. The strength required to love is experiencing it, knowing what it looks like, feels like, and sounds like. We know what love is, and what it is not. Given a choice of love and the other, most, most, would choose to be love. If they are aware of it, how great it feels, how powerful it is, and how it multiplies, it will be the constant and consistent choice.

Coach Barry Thompson with quarterbacks

Mind your words, your actions, and your heart. Make sure that the message that you are handing to your young people is one of love. Allow young people to stay connected to you. If connected, when a young person goes off course, the connection pulls at you and says “I am going left, help me.” If connected, we know natural movements, good movements, and the other.

Be the place where love lives. Be constantly in action of love. Be constantly love in action. Cover your young people so much in love that nothing else can stick. That’s how we will make fewer bullies, young and old. Love. Out loud. I hope that we do. I pray.

 

Love out loud people.

Go.

Posted in Edcuators
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