This year for Christmas I was gifted three books and a gift card to a bookstore. What an amazing bunch of gift givers I have in my life!:) One of the books I received was titled, "Uncommon", written by former Indianapolis Colts Football coach Tony Dungy. I have read Tony's material before, but this book is up there with his "Mentor Leader". In this book he talks a lot about the power of influence, the role of integrity and the absence of integrity (Penn State?) and how it is now "uncommon" to find good men who can foster healthy marriages, family life, coaching careers, teaching careers and still keep grounded in his faith. Wow, what a mouthful of stuff eh? That is a lot to take in! Well, it is, but it isn't. See Dungy writes in such a way that he ignites past experiences in our lives where people have had good influences and bad influences on us. He breaks down his explanations by providing examples of key football players throughout his life who demonstrated good character, integrity and a humanistic approach to others.
As a Phys Ed teacher, Dungy hits the nail on the head in chapter 11 when he states this,
"Teachers are mentors everyday. There are plenty of other vocations that teachers could pursue, jobs that would pay them more money and cause them less stress. But they choose to give up material things in order to build into the lives of young people. They choose to mentor. They leave a legacy".
I may be taking this quote a bit out of context, but I firmly believe that this should be one of the goals we all pursue together, not just as teachers. As teachers, yes we choose to mentor, but you can do the same thing! There is not card you have to carry around in your wallet which spells out your name, level of integrity and level of mentor. It is not tangible and is something which we can all do.
My challenge for each of you today is simple. Be a mentor for someone in need. do something nice for someone who needs it. Call up an old friend and ask how they are doing. Simply be interested in someone else's needs. There is a short story about a boy who had terminal cancer and everyday his mother wrote a small letter to him and put it in the mailbox. The boy would open each new letter everyday with a smile. While the boy lasted longer than he should have, one of his last words to his mother was, "Mom, thanks for all the letters, I knew it was you all along, I was so happy because just wanted someone to care." Be a mentor. Be educated!Be uncommon.
B.A Human Kinetics