Skin in the game

Skin in the Game – Guest Post by Kris Hogan

Skin in the game

Today’s blog is a guest post by Kris Hogan. With a 16-year educational tenure under his belt, Kris Hogan has spent the last nine years working at Grapevine Faith High School in Grapevine, Texas. In addition to sitting on its administrative team, Hogan also pulls double duty as Faith’s head football coach. Hogan has coached teams to eight state championships and has been voted Coach of the Year six times at the district or regional level. Since his arrival at Faith in 2002, the Lions have captured 10 state championships in multiple sports. Hogan also was the subject of Remember Why You Play, a 2008 book by sports columnist and author David Thomas that chronicled the lives, struggles and successes of Coach Hogan and his team. Incidentally, one of the key events was a game that Faith played against the Gainesville State Tornadoes, a school for convicted juvenile offenders. The story of that event is currently being developed into a major motion picture, titled One Heart. He and Amy, his wife of 15 years, are Mom and Dad to three kids: Jerilyn, Deuce and Zeke.

I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know him personally over the last few years and am excited to share his post with you today.

I love the term “skin in the game.”  It’s a term coined by investing guru Warren Buffet.  He used it when referring to a situation where investors used their own money to buy stock in the company they were running.  The point he was making is obvious…He wanted people making a contribution, to the benefits they received.

We all know that when we purchase something with our own money, or work hard for something, we suddenly ascribe more value to it.  I think we’ve all seen children break toys with little or no concern, while those who purchased the toys had quite a different viewpoint!   An elderly friend of mine once told me, “Coach, you can have things or you can have kids, but you can’t have both!”  I had to smile thinking back on some of the “accidents” me and my brother had growing up.

Obviously we want our kids having “skin in the game”, because it naturally teaches them stewardship, responsibility, and decision-making skills, just to name a few.

The question is how to get this done?  Here are a few strategies I have collected from great parents and my mentors over the years:

  1. Let kids make mistakes with their decision making without bailing them out. 
    It will help them appreciate the decisions of others and they will also plan better next time they get to choose.
  2. Sometimes when they make a special request, put “strings” on it.
    It’s ok to negotiate a deal. They don’t have to take your offer, but if they do, there’s skin in the game!
  3. In conjuction with #2, always look for opportunities to teach, “Your word is your bond!”
    Sometimes, having to go through a tough experience in order to keep your word, teaches lessons that last a lifetime, and you could get no other way.

Admittedly, like most great parenting techniques, it takes planning and intentionality, but whatever creative strategies you come up with to have your kids “get skin in the game”, will be well worth the return on investment.

What strategies have you used to encourage kids to get “skin in the game?”

Kris Hogan blogs regularly at along with Jeff Potts and Alison Rich. They have created a great place to find practical, applicable parenting tips and other takeaways aimed at the things you should be doing—and not harping on the stuff you shouldn’t. is a great resource for parents – sign up for updates by clicking here.

Skin in the Game - Guest Post by Kris Hogan