Monday, March 12, 2012

Building Life Around Something Bigger Than Yourself

I'll never forget the day my mother and father called a "family meeting" concerning my dad's job. Dad had been contemplating a career change that would allow him to teach high school and coach football. He knew this change would have an impact on our lives and wanted to talk it over before he gave his final answer.He told my brother and I about the job and explained why he thought it would be a good move for our family.

He also shared his concern that becoming a teacher and coach would put more pressure on us because he would teach at the same school we attended. He explained we were likely to hear things that would hurt our feelings.My brother and I were excited about the change.Perhaps my memories of that time are romanticized, but I don't think so. I can still see Dad sitting on a barstool in front of the class, calling the roll. I can still hear his voice yelling to a football player to make a play and his unbridled joy when he saw improvement. From my perspective, he was a great teacher and coach for one reason.

He loved the kids.The subject he taught and the sport he coached were important but not nearly as important as the students. He knew they were likely to forget his lectures, their football careers would end, and the only thing that would remain was that "Coach" loved them.Even when I was a student in his classroom and an athlete on his football team, I was proud of him. I knew he was making a difference in the lives of my friends, and the sacrifices our family made were worth it.When I joined Facebook, I was surprised by the number who sent messages for my dad. Although his football teams were successful and he taught gifted students, their stories are rarely about the classroom or the football field.

They tell how he helped them by being a listening ear, how they called him when they were in trouble, and how he refused to give up on them. They want him to know how much he meant to them during a significant part of life.He built his life around something bigger than just himself. He invested himself in the lives of others and made a profound difference in the process. I'm thankful for his example and know he has inspired others to teach the leaders of tomorrow.I hope you have chosen to invest yourself in something bigger than yourself...and that you too will improve the lives of those around you.

Article by Nathan Mellor.

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