We have ten kids and so we have a lot of issues with keeping our kids on track. I actually just read Proverbs yesterday where it says something along the lines of Train up a child in the way he should go…guide him down the right path…and when he’s older he won’t leave it. The question is how do you really guide them? How do you keep them on the right path? How do you discipline kids? There is a balance between the nurturing side, knowing kids make mistakes and thinking back to the days where I was a child, and the discipline side. Communicating to them, You have to do the right things. If you do the wrong things it will hurt you in the long run. As a result, you are going to suffer consequences.
Self-esteem and how they see themselves is so important in children. Many times how they see themselves is totally different than how everyone else in the world sees them. It can be hard to know how to build self-esteem in our kids. No one wants a child who thinks too highly of themselves, but it is equally bad when they think too low of themselves. They need to know that they are important.
The number one thing I think for a parent is spending time with kids. That’s how you are going to demonstrate that you love them. Getting the time with kids becomes difficult as schedules become hectic or job demands come upon you. When you have to be away from home for a considerable amount of time, how can you spend time with your kids and show them how much they mean to you?
During my first season with the Bucs, things started to turn around for us, and we entered the 1997 season with high hopes. In the opening game, at a critical moment when we were trying to protect a slim lead, Hardy Nickerson, our defensive captain and a team leader, received an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty for getting into an altercation with a 49ers player after the play had ended. I was livid. We spent a lot of time trying to help our young players understand that they couldn’t get foolish penalties and expect to win big games, so I brought Hardy to the sidelines and asked him what happened.
People often ask what my personal goals are for the next couple of years. What else would I like to accomplish? What would I like to do? From a career standpoint in football, I am very satisfied. I have no regrets in terms of what I would like to accomplish athletically. There’s nothing I look at and think to myself that I would like to return to coaching. That is never going to happen. However, there are things I really enjoy doing and are my goals for the next 10 years.
From playing college football to being drafted in the NFL; to playing with the Steelers and winning a Super Bowl; to becoming an assistant coach to a head coach and then winning the Super Bowl with the Colts. After spending over thirty years in the NFL, you probably guessed that I am someone who likes challenges. Before you even begin personal challenges or a work challenge, you have to figure out how you are going to approach it in order to succeed. This is how I prepare for a challenge.
As a society, we claim that we like athletes who tend to be humble and quiet, but in reality, those aren’t the guys who get the focus—at least not as much as the other guys who are trying to bring attention to their own names. Barry Sanders and Deion Sanders came into the NFL together in 1989. Barry was “old school.” He did his job and played spectacular football, and when he scored a touchdown, he handed the ball to the official and then went back to the bench. After games, it was hard to get him to talk about himself. He would praise his offensive lineman, then head out and stay away from the camera as much as possible.
Sometimes taking risks in life doesn’t necessarily pay off. When it was time for me to leave the Steelers in 1988, Lauren and I really agonized over our options. I was offered jobs by two coaches who ended up in the Hall of Fame, both in the same off-season: Bill Parcels of the Giants and Bill Walsh of the 49ers. I also had good interviews with Sam Wyche in Cincinnati and Marty Schottenheimer in Kansas City. All four men were great coaches and good people. I had played for Bill Walsh and Sam Wyche when I was in San Francisco, and I knew I could be comfortable with either. Of course, Bill Parcels had recently won his first Super Bowl, and my interview with him was a defensive coach’s dream: sitting in an office, talking football theory with Bill and his staff-Bill Belichick and Romeo Crennel.
When I started coaching in the NFL in 1981, there were fourteen African American assistant coaches in the whole league, and no head coaches or coordinators. I didn’t show up my first day of work thinking that I was going to be a head coach and win a Super Bowl, but I did think about the future and reaching goals. I wanted to learn as much as I could and do my job well. I believed if I did that, I’d get promoted within the organization. And I didn’t let the fact that there were no black men in those high-level jobs put a damper on my thinking. I always believed that, because of who I was working for and the people around me, I would learn enough to be an excellent coach.
Don’t relish conflict, but don’t fear it. Handling conflict is one of the most misunderstood parts of our existence. It is often unpleasant; many people try to avoid it. Others seem to thrive on the stress of it. I think some even use it to overpower others. Maybe that’s why they look for opportunities to bully people.
However, conflict is best seen as an opportunity to understand our differences, since that’s when conflict usually arises: when we see something different. I handle conflict in the following 3 ways.