One For All, All For One!

A phrase I learned as a boy, which has held special meaning for me was, “Un pour tous, tous pour un,” which was made famous by its use in the novel, “The Three Musketeers.” Sure, you may remember D’Artagnan, the young musketeer as the impressionable, swashbuckling hero, but did you know this character was based on a real person who served as a captain of the musketeers under Louis XIV?

Even way back in the 16th century, D’Artagnan knew the importance of teamwork, an action that can greatly improve a business, an athletic team, clubs, in fact, any group of people, including families. That’s right, families. Another favorite quote I’ve held sacred is, “A family that plays together, stays together.”

Just a few of the reasons everyone can benefit from teamwork, be it business, sports or families, are through building trust, complementing one another’s strengths and attributes, all of which helps to foster creativity and learning. Creativity thrives when people work together on a team. But one of teamwork’s most important attributes is that it allows everyone on the team to feel important and integral to the overall success of the team.

Ask yourself, how important could lighting a match be? Seems like a relatively unimportant task doesn’t it? Now imagine a small army of warriors facing the oncoming onslaught and their only hope is that their cannon will save the day by stopping an attack, and there’s one individual — teammate — who has to light the cannon fuse. All of a sudden, that person holding the match becomes pretty important, doesn’t he.

One of the most exciting parts of racing for me was the involvement of my family. As a father, there was nothing more rewarding than seeing firsthand the pride in the eyes of a daughter or son when they realized they too were an integral part of something, that they made a difference and were just as important as any other member of the team. Sure, it sounds like a lot of fun, but it’s more than that when a family pursues a hobby together. And it’s not just racing, either. Expose your children to a range of activities and hobbies, get involved, tell them how important you feel they could be. It’s important that you don’t just drag them along. Delegate a task that they too will begin to feel are important to the team.

Did you know paper crafts, printmaking and cake-decorating are currently hot among today’s 62.5 million crafters, according to the Craft and Hobby Association. Cake decorating? Are you kidding me!? And this doesn’t include sports or outdoor pursuits such as bird watching and astronomy, which go back centuries, or the technology-inspired treasure hunts known as geocaching. And still, Americans spend more time doing “passive leisure” activities, such as watching TV, than active leisure activities that include hobbies and sports, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

There are far too many young family members these days lying on the sofa, drinking sodas, staring at an iPhone, who could benefit from getting involved with racing or other activities. Sure, it may take some persuasion, but if you find a niche that’s just right for them, it’s a win-win for all concerned. I’m proud to report I have personally seen many NASA teams comprised of family members, all of whom wear a certain badge of honor, dignity and pride.

Take an interest in your child’s passions. Spend one-on-one time with each child and tell them how much it would mean to if you could teach them a new skill at the track.

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