Effective coaching ought to help men be enablers. My father was an enabler. We often hear the word in reference to someone who tolerates or encourages dysfunctional behavior such as substance addiction. But there are positive enablers too; my father was one.
My father, who died at the age of 88, would have been considered a normal, well-balanced man. He worked like a dog for decades in order to raise his family on one income. He enjoyed watching sports, deep-sea fishing and handy man projects around the house. His trade was as a machinist, fixing industrial sewing machines in hot, sweaty factories.
Dad also sewed, cooked, house cleaned, grew vegetables, and loved opera and classical music. On Sunday mornings we’d wake up to the smell of salt pork, garlic, and onions sautéing on the stove, as he made the tomato sauce and meatballs. He and my mother tag-teamed in the kitchen, each working on different parts of the meal. On the stereo played music from Readers Digest collections of operettas and light classical pieces. Sometimes he’d sit in the living room listening and conducting, moved by the beauty of the melodies.
He and my mother brought us to the Museum of Science, but also to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. They were no art experts, but made sure to expose us to wonder, culture, and beauty. These were people who had to drop out of school at fourteen during the Depression in order to work and support themselves, yet they were committed to the value of the practical and fine arts in developing the lives of their children.
Because of my father’s truly manly example and my mother’s patient teaching I am fairly self-sufficient. I know how to tailor my garments, cook great meals, clean my home from top to bottom, do minor construction, troubleshoot problems, and be inspired by great music and art. I have been enabled by the best. So should good coaching have the same result.
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