Passing Along A Good Word Or Deed To Kids
By Bill Ervolino
The Record, Bergen County Book Review
Every Child Deserves A Champion by Bob Danzig
It may be tempting to describe children the way Dr. Seuss described fish in One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. They seem to come in endless varieties, shapes, and colors, and most are rather cute?even the ones who bite.
But, unlike fish, kids have needs, skills, and talents that don’t always assert themselves naturally. Sure, we know when children are hungry or bored. But do we know when they need a hug, an encouraging nudge, or a healthy infusion of self-esteem?
Bob Danzig knows, and he tells us all about it in Every Child Deserves a Champion, a warm and inspiring book that defies the Look Out for Number One philosophy found in most self-help volumes, and lets us know that looking out for someone else specifically, a child in need can be a worthwhile and intensely satisfying side-trip on the road to self-improvement.
With all of the horror stories we associate with foster care sadly, the successes aren’t nearly as newsworthy. It almost seems shocking to learn that Danzig, who would eventually become CEO of the Hearst Newspaper Group, and vice president of the Hearst Corp., was once a foster child who was shipped from one home to the next.
It probably isn’t surprising to learn, then, that Danzig recalls the name of the foster care professional who, while in the process of moving him from his fourth foster home to his fifth, told him ‘You are worthwhile.’ Those words, he says, made all the difference in the world to him. And, in Every Child he offers some warm life lessons, from a variety of writers, on words and deeds that can change a child’s life.
Using these short stories, anecdotes, poems, and heartfelt quotes, Danzig reminds us that we live in a world where kids have high hopes that can and should be realized.
What does it take to be a mentor? A role model? A champion? Not as much effort as you might think.
Along the way, Danzig also suggests we take a moment to reflect on the champions in our own lives.
It’s an interesting exercise that can help reawaken your inner child, reconnect you with the person or persons who lifted you up when you needed it, and remind you that the gift of inspiration was meant to be passed on.