Parenthood

MARIETTA -Marietta resident Bob Springer has added another line to his already impressive resume.

The highly-successful businessman and football coach has completed the trifecta of major career accomplishments by recently becoming a published author, penning a book entitled “Go Ahead and Break Your Child’s Heart,” available from Dog Ear Publishing of Indianapolis.

The premise of the book is that today’s parents are tremendously reluctant to discipline their children. As Springer puts it through the words of coach John and Cathy Morrison of the Francis Parker School in San Diego, “Your child needs one less friend and one more parent.”

The book is dedicated to Lemarr Wilder, a running back for Springer when he served as the head football coach at Federal Hocking High School in Stewart, Ohio. Wilder lost his life as a result of a fight at a party in which he was stabbed. Springer, who saw what a bright young man Wilder was and the potential he had to be a success in life, was profoundly affected by his death.

“He did not have a fair chance in life,” Springer wrote. “His behavior was permitted to deteriorate, as it was unchecked by those in charge.”

Springer, who rose through the ranks of the Allstate Insurance Company, beginning as a management trainee, spent 26 years with the firm, rising to Vice President of Human Resources. At age 53, he retired and he and his wife Jen returned to Marietta, where Springer attended Marietta College.

Although he retired due to a heart condition, Springer isn’t the type to sit back in an easy chair and live a life of luxury. Rather, he returned to another passion, coaching young men in the rugged sport of high school football.

At Parkersburg South, he joined with head coach Mike DeVol to win a Class AAA state championship. Springer filled many roles for that team, including being its chief scout of opponents. His reports were known for their thoroughness, as he would analyze every player on the opposing team and their tendencies, looking for any little edge he could give the members of the Patriots. He eventually became the head coach at Federal Hocking, revitalizing a program in need of his talent and energy.

Springer retired from coaching in 2011 at age 69, but he still wasn’t finished with his life’s work. Rather, he had a message he wanted to get out regarding parents and their children.

So, he began the arduous task of writing a book, knowing his thoughts might never see the light of day.

But Springer made the connections necessary to get an audience with a publisher and managed to sell himself and his idea.

Go Ahead And Break Your Child’s Heart is divided into several parts, beginning with a message from Springer, who suggests parents be “lovingly stubborn” regarding life’s most important chore, raising a child.

The book is divided into three distinct parts.

Without giving away all the content, the first section is a fictional story about a man returning to his hometown to attend his high school’s 30-year reunion. He sees the way things are today and compares them to how they were 30 years prior. He sees that today’s youngsters lack discipline and feel a sense of entitlement.

Part two is entitled Leadership Considerations. It deals with 50 specific situations parents must consider regarding their children, including tough issues such as drug use. Springer compares it to a workbook on how to handle each problem.

Part three is another fictional situation regarding a parent with two middle school aged kids during which several more situations arise. It is called Lessons Learned.

Springer talks about those who have influenced his life and his philosophy, one of many personal touches in the paperback’s 135 pages.

This is one of those books that is both informative and entertaining. It’s an easy read and one you can pick up more than once and likely learn something you didn’t catch the first time.

Like its author and his life, it’s full of surprises and makes you wonder what comes next.