A great tool to COMMAND the situation!


Today I want to look at one of the most successful coaches ever and his own self-proclaimed best approach to discipline. I think you’ll find his style appealing.

Sometimes we think of “being in command” as the Type A personality, talking very loudly and giving orders to the troops … and I will not deny that sometimes as a parent, we have to go into this mode. This week I am going to point out another approach that has worked for a long time in many different arenas.

It’s the constant application of gentleness. That’s right, gentleness. Now, before you start thinking that will not work with your strong-willed little one, note that I did not say to give up consistency, firmness, consequences, or leadership in any way. I am just advocating the infusion of gentleness …in all phases.

Some 10 years ago, I was reading a book about the life philosophies of legendary basketball coach John Wooden. The second section of the book was titled “NOTHING IS STRONGER THAN GENTLENESS.” This caught my eye for obvious reasons. That’s something you’re more likely to find in a kindergarten library than in the pages of a book written by a guy who had won 10—yes, 10—national championships.

Instead of re-explaining it, I’ll give you a quote out of the book, WOODEN, from page 3:

“We had a team of mules named Jack and Kate on our farm. Kate would often get

stubborn and lie down on me when I was plowing. I couldn’t get her up no matter

how roughly I treated her. Dad would see my predicament and walk across the

field until he was close enough to say “Kate.” Then she’d get up and start

working again. He never touched her in anger. It took me a long time to

understand that even a stubborn mule responds to gentleness.”

Proverbs 25:11 says, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” Proverbs 15:1 says, “A soft answer turns away wrath.”

Knowing all of us parents struggle from time to time with frustration and/or anger, the words of proverbs and Coach Wooden’s approach are great reminders.

Nothing is stronger than gentleness.

- John Wooden (October 14, 1910–June 4, 2010)

About Kris Hogan

With a 16-year educational tenure under his belt, Kris Hogan has spent the last nine years working at Grapevine Faith High School in Grapevine, Texas. In addition to sitting on its administrative team, Hogan also pulls double duty as Faith’s head football coach. Hogan also was the subject of Remember Why You Play, a 2008 book by sports columnist and author David Thomas that chronicled the lives, struggles and successes of Coach Hogan and his team. READ MORE→