Johnny was up at bat. It was the bottom of the 9th the bases were loaded and his team was down by one point.

“Come on, Johnny, you can do it,” his coach patted him on the back for encouragement.

“Aw, Johnny can hit,” one of the other teammates kicked the dirt below his feet.

Coach twisted up his nose. “Johnny can win this for us. He’s a star in the making. He’s gonna make it to the pros one day, you’ll see.”

He turned his attention to the batter and clapped loudly, “come on, Johnny, you can do this. Let’s go.”

Well, like Mighty Casey, Johnny struck out. He hung his head in defeat as he fought back tears on his way to the dugout.

“Way to go Johnny. You couldn’t hit the side of a barn with a rock,” one of the teammates shouted, “I don’t know why coach didn’t just bench you.”

Johnny looked at coach, “they’re right. Maybe I should just quit.”

Coach looked Johnny in the eye, “you’ll do no such thing. You can hit, you just need more practice. Meet me at the field every day and I’ll show you how to hit. You’ll get better, I promise. Don’t give up.”

We need to develop our coaching and mentoring skills as parents. In so doing, we set our children up for successful, happy lives.

To become a great mentor, you must develop these qualities:

  • Positive
  • Show them
  • Believe in your child
  • Look at their future
  • See their potential
  • Describe things so that they catch it
  • Caution


Great coaches are positive, even when defeat is eminent.

The coach in the story probably knew that it was unlikely that Johnny would make the hit, yet he cheered him on anyway.

Even when Johnny struck out, he encouraged him not to quit. He used, “the next time…” mentality to help give Johnny the confidence to work on his weaknesses.

As parents, we often take one defeat as a signal that our child should quit. A failing grade in math means that they “just aren’t good in math.”

Worse yet, some of us harp on one setback and deem the child worthless. “you can’t do anything right. I can’t believe you messed up again…”

Be a coach instead. “This test isn’t the end of the world, but what we need to do is practice those times tables a little more so that you can ace the next test.”


Good coaches will go out into the field and show their players how to throw, hit, kick or whatever they do in their sport.

Coaches lead by example.

Being a good coach for your children means showing them how to behave. Show them through your own behavior.

Show them the importance of reading by reading and reading to them. Show them how to be responsible with money by being responsible with your own money. Show them how to treat others by treating others with kindness. Show them how they are supposed to be as adults by being that type of adult yourself.


All great coaches believe in their players, even when they make mistakes. Listen to any post-game interview with any coach after a team loses. The coach always backs the player’s efforts.

Back your child’s efforts, too. Your child is amazing but he or she needs encouragement.

Believe in your child.

Correct them when they do wrong, of course, but don’t cut them down, especially in front of others.

Use positive language when talking to or about your child. “Johnny had a little setback in Algebra this marking period, but I know he’ll come back strong next time. He is a hard worker and will get it right.”


Mentors look toward the future of their stars. They look toward the next game, the next season, when their little star is drafted into the pros.

As your child’s mentor, you should always push (not pressure) your child to look toward the future. As a parent, you are also responsible for financially preparing for your child’s future to make it possible for them to achieve.


The best coaches in the world draft a player and somehow know what that player will become. They actually can visualize the player’s role on the team, even if the player can’t see it.

As a parent, see the potential in your child. What abilities do they have? What are their interests? Visualize a bright future with them.


The most important skill that a mentor can have is to describe the future in such a way that the person they are mentoring can catch it.

It is not enough that you believe in your child (after all, you are the parent, you are supposed to believe), you must help your child to see his or her potential so vividly that it becomes their goal.

Visualize with them. Show an interest. Find activities to fuel their imagination. Share biographies with them of people who made it to where they want to go.


You don’t have the right to live vicariously through your child. You had your chance to be a beauty queen or basketball star. That was your dream, let them pick their own.

If you try to make your child live out your dream, you will both be frustrated and disappointed. Your child will be either rebel entirely OR go through the motions just to please you. Either way, they will be unhappy.

Give your child direction, but allow them to pursue their own interests and desires. They may look just like you, but they are their own person.









In honor of Black History Month, I will share with you the list of the 21 African-Americans who influenced me the most in addition to my regular blog posts.

The first person to guess who #1 will be will receive a FREE Purpose Driven Woman Boot Camp courtesy of Taquila Coleman (a $47 value.) Simply post your guess in the comments section. Include your Facebook page, web page or twitter name and I will give you a shout out – right or wrong.

11. Bill Cosby

12.  Alex Haley

13. James Weldon Johnson

14. Malcolm X

15. Sidney Poitier

16. Oprah Winfrey

17. Paul Laurence Dunbar

18. Maya Angelou

19. Langston Hughes

20. Nikki Giovanni

21. Marian Anderson



About living4bliss

Mental Health Food is the place to stop to get your bliss on everyday. I give tips, hints and sometimes a little silliness to help you navigate the challenges of life. We have a great community of positive bloggers that keep the bliss going all day every day. Make sure to visit their blogs, too. Mental Health Food is a product of Believing Life Is Setup for Success, Inc. (B.L.I.S.S.) in Thornton, CO. We have been in the business of teaching success since 1991. We provide workshops, consulting services and now videos that help people just like you start and maintain successful businesses and personal lives using what you already have. Enjoy a daily dose of Mental Health Food; nourishment for the mind.

3 responses »

  1. Amen, Saundra!! This sounds like Tyler Perry’s next movie, “Good Deeds,” opening on February 24. Do you know about it? I’ll be there!!

  2. Great article. You should sub it to some of the coach/PE sites/magazines, or even the booster club newsletters.

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