Today I am tired, but it is a good tired. It is a tired that comes from staying up late to celebrate the Philadelphia Eagles’ Super Bowl win. It really was a magical season with a fairy tale ending. There are many parts of the game I could talk about that were noteworthy, but it was an interview I watched during the pre-game festivities that stays with me.
NBC10 sports reporter, John Clark interviewed Brian Dawkins (Eagle’s free safety for 13 years) about being named to the Football Hall of Fame. John asked Brian if he ever thought he would be this great. In his usual humble way B. Dawkins responded. I paraphrase below.
‘I was blessed to have individuals along the way who have seen small things in me – more in me than I thought of myself. My coach, Emmitt Thomas, would not let me settle. He kept telling me – you could be this great. If he were the type of coach who got angry with my mistakes and yelled, I probably wouldn’t be here now. He and others along the way kept telling me what I could do. I started to hear those words and believe them. That is something we are missing today. Words are so powerful, and we should be paying more attention to the words we use with our young impressionable people.’
WOW! How powerful were his words!. They got me thinking about myself as a teacher and the young impressionable minds entrusted to my care. I am pretty positive and very rarely get upset with my students. When I do, I do my best to put a positive spin on my words to make each situation a learning experience rather than a punitive one. But do I tell them enough how great they are? Do I help them see in themselves that little something that I see in them?
I keep telling them that if we want this world to be different it has to start with them. They are the voice of our future, but am I helping them find that voice? Am I helping them “not settle” for less than their best? I hope so, but just in case I will carry the words of Brian Dawkins with me each day and make sure that I keep telling them just how great they can be!