Nine Lessons I Learned From My Father PDF Free Download

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One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is taking downtime to catch up on reading books that have piled up in my office based on recommendations from various people I have talked to.

One of the books I recently finished, however, was one that was not recommended to me but was given to me by my son, “Nine Lessons I Learned From My Father, brilliantly written by Dr. Murray Howe, the youngest son of the late great Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe. The book is an accumulation of the various anecdotes that he wrote down for the eulogy that he was asked to do for his father’s service when he passed away.

Sadly as I lost my father at a young age, I did not learn many of the life lessons from him that I aspire that my son and daughter to learn from me, but as the old cliché goes, everything happens for a reason. Some of which I learned from my mother, grandparents, uncles and many others I learned from all the amazing coaches that I had along the way of my youth sports journey playing multiple sports.

Below are the nine lessons with quotes of Mr. Hockey that he cited in the book;

  1. Live Honorably

“People depend on you to do the right thing”

All of my coaches talk me this valuable lesson, particularly the importance of walking the talk vs. those that talk the talk. Probably the biggest issues I come across with “some” youth sports coaches today is they say all the right things in the parent meetings like they plan to develop all players, teach valuable life lessons, ensure all the kids have fun and so forth only to show their true colours in games and practices screaming at kids who make mistakes.

As a result they lose parents and players trust early in the season and more often than not the players don’t return the following season as they did not have the positive experience that youth sports should provide

  1. Live Generously

“What good is money except to do something good for someone”

One of the co-coaches that I coached with on my daughters softball team for many years, Patchie as he was affectionately called by all of us, thought nothing of buying all the girls helmets, bats, snacks and more than one round of bevies when the adults would get together.

Several of the coaches I had over the years did the same, they thought nothing of spending their own money for equipment, meals, gas, hotels and all the other costs to be a coach so they could develop us into adults.

The trend today in the competitive stream in minor hockey is most associations in the lower mainland have gone to paid non-parent coaches to promote impartial player selection and eliminate other politics associated with rep hockey. The coaches are paid from team budgets, so are “professional coaches /employees” of those very same parents that expect quality coaching, and the honorariums these coaches are receiving can be as high as $10,000 per season.

I don’t agree with the model, as it is putting a lot of pressure on these coaches (many of which are just getting started out after they finished their junior hockey careers) to win at all costs, and many of the players are quitting as a result way before their “hockey careers” are over.

  1. Play Hard, but Have Fun

“If it’s not fun, do something else.”

Hmmmm … Mr. Hockey who played professional hockey for over 3 decades believed in FUN? One of the quotes I came across that Murray shared in the book was “you can’t score from the bench” when Gordie was at the end of his career and the coaches were opting to go with the younger players and he sat on the bench. Murray also did the same even though he did play one season with Wayne Gretzky in Junior when Wayne was 15 but had the misfortune of sitting on the bench in Junior and like his Dad, opted to hang up his skates from competitive hockey as a result.

The only reason that a kid should be sitting on a bench in minor hockey is for discipline, kids deserve to PLAY the game so they can contribute to the outcome.

  1. Patience, Patience, Patience

“Take your time and do it right”

Every talk do I tell the coaches the importance of error correction during practices and don’t let the players cheat the drills by rushing thru them. I would rather they do it SLOW and right, that fast and wrong. The latter just leads to players developing bad habits that coaches at the older age groups get frustrated having to correct.

Another analogy I share is from Terry Crisp, who coached in the NHL and international level for many years, he believed in P & R – Patience and repetitions. Hockey, like majority of sports other than gymnastics, is a long term development sport where coaches should be adhering to LTAD/LTPD or ADM (depending on the sport) and ensure that coaching skills relative to the age group.

Too many coaches just starting out implement team tactics, strategies way too early, then scream at their players because they make mistakes in practices and games. The reason they are making mistakes is they don’t have the SKILL to do the strategies and when they are screamed at too much, the become scared to a point where many kids quit as a result.

  1. Live Selflessly

“If you want a good workout, grab the shovel over there”

Gordie was infamous for shoveling not only his driveway, but his neighbors, as well as one that did not believe in celebrating his own goals but that of the players that he setup to score.

Selfish players hurt team chemistry to a point where you may never get out of the storm period (forming, storming, norming and performing) so it is essential that you have ALL players buy-in to team and remind them that the play for the crest on the front of the jersey, not the nameplate on the back.

  1. Be Humble

“Don’t read your own press clippings. You’ll start to believe them.”

One of the greatest lessons I learned from my Peewee Hockey Coach who lead our team to win the Ontario Provincials and as a result we were invited to the Quebec Peewee Tournament well before it became the international event it is today.

He always said before games, Boys … today we will win with humility or lose with dignity. No one should know if you won or lost when you leave the dressing room.

I have had the misfortune coaching against many teams in various sports where the coaches would have benefited from learning that core value as they not only permitted, but promoted excessive celebrations by their players when they were way up on us or their players were demonstrating poor sportsmanship when scored upon or they would lose it on their players.

This has been one of the biggest contributors when I have talked to players why they have quit the sports they once loved.

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One of my favorite videos how much a fan idolized Gordie Howe is the one below …

  1. Be Tough

“There’s no such thing as cold weather. Only cold clothing.”

The numerous anecdotes that Murray shared about Gordies grit which goes back to his childhood as he was bullied due to having a learning disability and struggled reading and writing until it was identified and became proficient later on.

This is what lead him to pursue hockey as it was his outlet, much like it was for me when I was growing up. Although my mother did an amazing job raising me and my brother, as a result of have strawberry red hair and living in various suburbs of the separatism era of Quebec, the Northwest Territories as a token child of white man’s burden and even when we moved to BC the first and second times, I was a victim of bullying as well.

Like Gordie, sports for me was the outlet to deal with the bullying I experienced, and I channeled my focus, frustration on the field but in a clean way thanks to the encouragement that I received from all the amazing coaches I had.

  1. Stay Positive

“I never keep track of my shots that miss.”

Having played many organized sports with so many coaches, the one constant with all of them was reinforcing the importance to stay positive and it is not over until it is over. Even in games were way down in, they would remind us of the valuable lessons we learned after the fact like being resilient, sportsmanship, respect, losing with dignity, resiliency, getting up when were down.

  1. Friends and Family Are Like Gold – Treasure Them

“Never forget where you came from, or who got your there”

The World Juniors is a perfect example of the importance of remembering how players got there, I had the opportunity to see Team Canada play in a game and MacKenzie Entwistle’s Mother was sitting right beside us. She watched the game very quietly, cheered when Canada made great plays but jumped literally to the roof when MacKenzie scored his 2nd of now three goals thus far in the tournament (tonight is the final round robin game against Russia).

He started out this years tournament as the teams 13th forward but has now been dubbed the teams Swiss Army knife for his contributions and would never have reached that level if it had not been for the support from his parents and family, many of which were there to support him when he was drafted to the NHL.

I tell players on all my teams, and ask coaches to do the same, to remind them that their biggest fans are their parents and family always comes first. Although “some parents (AKA the vocal minority) take their support too far by putting pressure on their kids, coaches, the silent majority of parents are amazing as their kids “biggest fans”

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This website by evangelist Peter Walker is dedicated to help Christians learn how to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others. Whether talking with teens or adults, Peter's videos and materials may help you and your Youth Group learn how easy and exciting it can be to share your faith with others. God bless you!

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A Word of Encouragement...

You know, it takes a real gift to work with Youth. I think of it sort of like working in foreign missions! Come to think of it, it may occasionally seem easier to make contact with indigenous tribes in a distant land, than to connect with a room full of middle school students in your own church!

But, be encouraged, you are one of the most important persons in their lives... (whether they know it or not!)

You are there telling them about God. And while you are doing so, you are listening to them about their needs, wants, and fears. And while all this is going on, you are being an example to them of what a mature Christian individual is like.

This is really important stuff! You've got to believe me... These kids are never going to forget you! You are trying to help them learn about the love and acceptance of God, and NOTHING is more important than that.

So, when the indigenous tribes in a far away land seem like a preferable alternative, just remember that the teens in that Youth Room need you more right now than you can imagine. Hang in there!

By the way, you may not think anyone is noticing your dedication and hard work. But be encouraged by the words of our Lord, Jesus Christ, which are recorded in Matthew 6:4'Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.'

God bless you!

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