Monday, October 22, 2012


This past weekend was homecoming for my old high school-Buc Pride Never Dies! As I looked at pictures of the game and friends that were in attendance, it got me thinking about my years working at Mainland and some of the old teams & athletes. For some reason, one former athlete in particular came to mind and I Googled him to see what he was up to. I knew that he had been arrested several years ago and was curious to see if things had changed--sadly, they had not.

This young man had incredible athletic talent & was intelligent, but lazy. He continually got into trouble at school and failed classes, but instead of being held accountable his athletic talent helped him avoid the consequences. This was a repeated pattern of being bailed out under the misguided notion of benefiting him by helping the football team.

As I look back on this, I wonder if we did him any favors. I'm not denying his personal responsibility in his current circumstances, but did we do the best as influential adults to prepare him for future success? Did we send the message that there are no consequences for poor decisions--that someone else will pay the price for your mistakes? It only reinforces the stirring in me that there are bigger things at stake when we are investing in the lives of others. We can't just be concerned with the present, but have to realize our potential to influence their future. Do we have the courage to make hard decisions that might be difficult to temporarily endure, but provide a better opportunity for mature decisions later in life? 

Recognizing the need for "tough love" and choosing to avoid it is a failure of nerve that neglects our true responsibility to develop the character of those we've been entrusted to care for.

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