By Dom Cioffi
My teenage son looked at me the other night and stated, “Dad, can you stop being a coach and just be my father?”
That hit home, not only because it was a pretty insightful comment from such a young mind, but also because it was painfully true.
I’ve been coaching sports in one form or another for the better part of my adult life. When my son came along, I figured I had a built-in student/athlete who I assumed would appreciate my expertise. And while my boy does take many of the athletic tips I give him to heart, sometimes the relentless nature of my “this is the right way to do it” approach wears on him.
It’s not that I’m always looking for perfection, but more that situations will arise where I see an opportunity to give him some valuable insight. In coaching we call this a “teachable moment.” It’s also a powerful way to take a negative and turn it into a positive.
This was the case one night last week when our doorbell rang. Like my son, I assumed it was for him so I didn’t move from my chair in the living room. He popped up in an instant and opened the door.
From my vantage point, I could see that it wasn’t a neighborhood kid but was instead someone obviously pedaling a door-to-door deal. She was a young, 20-something with a sweet voice who announced that she was a representative of Greenpeace and was soliciting donations through the neighborhood for their fight against human trafficking.
My son was a bit verbally paralyzed, partly because he had no idea what to say, but more likely because the girl was attractive and he didn’t want to appear like a dork, which he definitely did.
I rose from my chair and made my way over and started a conversation, asking the girl a few questions about what she was hoping to accomplish. In an effort to ignite a teachable moment, I then asked her to explain to my son what human trafficking is.
She launched into a very educated speech about the growing number of people who are abducted and then held hostage or sold into underground slavery rings. Honestly, the information she provided gave me pause. I knew human trafficking was a problem, but I had no idea how bad and prevalent it was.
The more she talked the more I became curious about the data. Throughout the conversation I would periodically turn my attention to my son to see if he was understanding the information. He was visibly disturbed by what he was hearing, but I allowed her to continue, knowing that sometimes certain things, no matter how terrible they are to hear, are necessary.
When she finished spitting out ugly statistics, I couldn’t help but inquire how she got involved with Greenpeace and this particular scourge of humanity.
She went on to explain that two years earlier, while at a popular East Coast beach resort town, her good friend was abducted right in front of her.
It seems that a group of six girls went out clubbing one night and during the frenzy of the evening, someone slipped a fast-acting drug into one of her girlfriend’s drinks. When the girl started to feel dizzy, a young man, who had obviously planned the episode, suggested she get some air outside. In an instant, she was pulled into a van and whisked away.
Police would search for her for two weeks before she was located and freed, but her experiences while held captive have forever altered her life.
Our Greenpeace representative told us that she got involved in the fight against human trafficking soon after because she saw firsthand how easy it was to make someone disappear.
Both my son and I were silent as she told us her story and equally without words when she finished. I was glad he heard this scenario and reiterated after she left how important it was to watch out for yourself and your friends because bad people are great opportunists.
When our conversation finally ended, I agreed to donate some money to her cause – I figured the education and time she provided us was well worth a donation. I then wished her well and commended her for doing her part in saving humanity.
This week’s film, “Deadpool 2,” features another individual who is looking to save humanity, albeit with a different set of skills and a wise cracking personality that would offend every grandmother on earth.
After the success of the first “Deadpool” movie, there was little doubt that a sequel would arrive. This past weekend’s release and the great praise that has followed makes this superhero one of Marvel Studio’s most bankable characters and a shoo-in for future films.
If you love the superhero genre mixed with non-stop action and a bit of shock comedy, definitely give this film a try.
A mortified “B” for “Deadpool 2.”
Check local movie listings to see “Deadpool 2.” Got a question or comment for Dom? You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.