News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current

News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current

News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current

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Family Matters: Responsible timing

My 8-year-old, Kevin, has made friends with some boys in the neighborhood and has been playing with them after school. My wife, Quyen, and I are glad he has other kids to be with and we have allowed and encouraged him to play with his friends. We also want Kevin to learn responsibility, so we have asked him to tell us where he’s going and to come home at a specified time.

The problems started when Kevin didn’t come home on time. On one occasion, I asked Kevin to be back at 6 p.m. He has been studying telling time this entire school year, so my son is very aware of how to do this. By 6:30, I needed to go looking for him. I found him at a friend’s house, and he looked disappointed that he couldn’t continue playing. After we came home, I sat Kevin down for a talk about the importance of keeping his word. I told him I’m not worried about him arriving a few minutes late, but after a half hour, I’m going to be concerned. He told me he understood.

The next day, I came home from work at about 6:30 p.m. and Quyen asked me to go get Kevin because she said he needed to be home at 6. I walked up the street to his friend’s house and a look of guilt appeared on Kevin’s face when he came to the door. He got on his bike and said, “Do you have anything to say to me?”

“Should I have something to say to you?” I responded.

He thought for a moment before answering, “I guess not.

At home, Quyen and I spoke to Kevin about why he didn’t come home on time again. The most we could get out of him was that he just wanted to keep playing. This was unacceptable. Our son was showing a complete disregard for our directions, so Quyen and I decided to ground him for a week. This meant no playing with his friends.

For the next week, whenever his friends came to ask for Kevin, we let him explain to them that he was grounded. We felt this would help him be accountable for his actions.

I love my children unconditionally and have gone to great pains to separate my love for them from their actions that have disappointed or frustrated me, and yes, at times their behavior can be maddening. Still, I want them to know that the love never goes away.

As a parent, I believe one of the most important things we can teach our kids is self- responsibility and that actions have consequences. Quyen and I didn’t like grounding Kevin for a week, but we felt it was necessary for his learning in order to develop into the kind of person who won’t take us for granted.

Family tip: In his book, “On Course: Strategies For Creating Success In College And In Life,” author Skip Downing defines eight principles of successful students. The one he lists first is “1 … accept personal responsibility, seeing themselves as the primary cause of their outcomes and experiences.”

John Madden: Retiring on his terms

John Madden is retiring from the announcing booth, and it’s a loss for football fans everywhere because he is so good at what he does. Simply stated, he takes the sport of football and makes it comprehensible to the viewer. That, in and of itself, is an art conducted by a master when one is fortunate enough to watch his broadcast, but he does so much more because he is so much more.

Take the most recent Super Bowl between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals. The play that stood out for me involved Steelers linebacker James Harrison, and no, it wasn’t the interception return for a touchdown that changed the tone of the game right before halftime. The play was a punt in which the camera isolated on Harrison on special teams going beyond aggressiveness in hitting a Cardinal player away from the ball. Madden said that Harrison ought to be thrown out of the game, and he was absolutely right. I knew that if Madden had been a referee on the field, he would’ve tossed the Steelers star in the middle of a Super Bowl without hesitation.

In another game involving the Denver Broncos last year, I recall former Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler firing a pass that went through the hands of his receiver. Cutler threw his arms up in exasperation and disgust was written all over his face. Seeing this, Madden said that Cutler needed to just play the game and not be showing up his teammates. Again, right on the money.

I get a sense of the type of man John Madden is by the way he calls what he sees on the football field. I also get a sense of the man by the fact that he coached the Oakland Raiders quite successfully for 10 years before he entered the broadcast booth. Al Davis was the Raiders owner, but they were John Madden’s teams.

I read that Dick Ebersol, Madden’s boss at NBC, really wants to keep Madden and is offering all kinds of inducements for Madden to stay on. In an era where retirement statements are met with skepticism, I have no doubt that Madden is serious. He said that he will celebrate his 50th wedding anniversary (another measure of the man’s success) this year with his wife and he wants to spend more time with his grandkids. Good for him. As always, he is going out on his terms with class and dignity and for the right reasons.

Columnist Ray Wong is a San Diego-based writer. E-mail comments to [email protected]. Columnists’ opinions reflect those of the individual author and do not necessarily represent those of the North Coast Current.

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Family Matters: Responsible timing