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On Blessings, Children, and Wrestling Mats November 21, 2007

Posted by TimTheFoolMan in Coaching, Communication, Family, Love, Parenting/Children, Self-Worth, Sports.

From the Amazon.com description of “The Blessing,” by John Trent and Gary Smalley:

…the life-changing gift the Bible calls “the blessing.” The unconditional love and approval that comes with the blessing is an important element of our self-esteem and emotional well-being. And many of us–perhaps unknowingly–spend a lifetime striving for this acceptance.


I love this book, and recommend it highly. However, of late, I’ve seen the reverse effect: My sons have found unexpected ways of blessing me, the parent. (more…)

Back to School: Year 2 August 20, 2007

Posted by TimTheFoolMan in Blogging, Celebrities, Coaching, Discipline, Exercise, Family, Fitness, Flatulence, Food, Football, Love, Nutrition, Parenting/Children, Sports.

Once again, we’ve taken our oldest son back to college, moved him in, and said our “goodbyes.” Though I would have presumed that sending him off to school would be easier this year, it wasn’t.


What made it harder? The myriad of ways we spent time together this Summer. (more…)

Moment of College Sports Zen: Local TV Irony January 8, 2007

Posted by TimTheFoolMan in Coaching, Football, Sports, Success.
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Last night, WHAS-TV ran one of those 5-second “Congratulations to UofL and Coach Petrino for winning The Orange Bowl. I had to laugh though.

orange bowl

While the still frame of the team & coach were being displayed under this voice-over, a news blurb was running at the bottom of the screen:

Special Update: Coach Bobby Petrino to leave Louisville as Head Coach to lead the Atlanta Falcons.

I think Petrino’s making a mistake, and would have done well to have discussed this with UofL’s Men’s Basketball coach, Rick Pitino (Pitino had a… shall we say “less than successful” transition from UK to the Boston Celtics). On the other hand, Petrino’s worked in the NFL before (as a quarterback’s coach), so he should know what he’s getting into. In addition, his past behavior has not exactly shown him to be a man who felt obligated to stand by a written contract or his verbal commitment to the community, so this shouldn’t come as a huge surprise to the community.

In the end, like it or not, college football is a business, just like the NFL, and the reality of this is that “business ethics” is generally an oxymoron. It’s a lousy message to send young men (both players and recruits), and I wish it weren’t that way, but that doesn’t change the reality.

Art of Failure Part 2: 3 Ways to Learn from Negative Feedback November 10, 2006

Posted by TimTheFoolMan in anger, Coaching, Discipline, Education, Exercise, Family, Football, Learning, Love, Management, Parenting/Children, Self-Worth, Sports, Success, Workplace.

In the first half of this essay, I talked about ways to give effective negative feedback. This is difficult, because we’re conditioned to be negative in unhealthy and destructive ways, which encourages some to abandon negative communication altogether.


I’m convinced that negative feedback has been given a bad rap. Regardless of whether it’s in connection with correcting the behavior of children, players, or subordinates, I’ve seen evidence that some of the greatest in any particular field seem to draw inspiration and strength from past failures. Ultimately, where’s the balance? Why is it that negative feedback has such a positive effect on some, but such a negative effect on others? How much is it dependent on the recipient? (more…)

The Art of Failure Part 1: 3 Ways to Make Negative Feedback Effective September 25, 2006

Posted by TimTheFoolMan in Coaching, Communication, Discipline, Family, Football, Learning, Love, Parenting/Children, Self-Worth, Sports.

In electronics, taking the output from a circuit and sending it back to the input is called “positive feedback.” This configuration tends to find an optimum mode or frequency, and reinforces it. However, if left unchecked, positive feedback can “runaway.” Even if you’re unfamiliar with electronics, you’ve probably experienced the downside of this phenomenon when a microphone starts picking up the output from a speaker (even in a hearing aid), and you get a telltale “squeal” (more formally called “oscillation”)


In contrast, changing the polarity of the signal and doing the same thing is called “negative feedback.” Done properly, this tends to reduce distortion at the output, and makes the amplified signal more closely resemble the input. Though not as susceptible to “runaway,” too much negative feedback in a circuit can be bad too, as it can completely negate any gain of the circuit. Nature abounds with systems that depend on both positive and negative feedback, and social systems are no different. After looking at the nature of both, I’m going to share three ways that I’ve found to make the most of negative feedback. (more…)