“In the same way, encourage the young men to live
wisely. And you yourself must be an example to them by
doing good works of every kind Let everything you do
reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching.
Teach the truth so that your teaching can’t be criticized.
Then those who oppose us will be ashamed and have
nothing bad to say about us.
– Titus 2:6-8 (New Living Translation)
I lost a good friend last week. Bob Whitehead was a gifted athlete in his youth. He lettered in basketball and baseball in high school and attended college on a basketball scholarship. After college, he served as a teacher and coach before moving into administration. For thirty years Bob was a high school principal and was named High School Principal of the Year by his peers. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame by two schools and is one of a select few to both play and coach in his state’s high school all-star basketball game. That’s a great resume, but what I saw in Bob Whitehead’s life goes much deeper than athletics or academics. Bob and his wife Dee Dee were married for almost fifty years and together they raised two daughters. He got up and went to work every day with an attitude of joy and commitment, he poured himself into the lives of others and in return he was loved. Bob was committed to his church, loved his family and was one of those people that made you a better person just by being around him. He was a role model in a world that so desperately needs positive examples.
Author, Robert Fulgham once said, “Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they’re always watching you.” We all have influence and are role models to someone. We may not want to admit it, we may not want to be, and we may even feel that we’re not worthy, but someone is looking up to us. As I think back on my time spent with Bob Whitehead, the subject of sports seldom came up. Bob was always friendly and fun to be around. He never talked down to me or preached to me. It was obvious that Bob loved and cared about people and when I was around him, I knew he loved and cared about me. He lived his life, and others watched. Bob Whitehead made a difference in people’s lives. Do you ever think about where the next generation is picking up the lessons they need for life? If you and I aren’t there to pour into their lives, who’s going to fill that void? Remember, everyone is a role model, but not everyone is a positive role model. You have a platform that is unique to you, remember that and like Bob Whitehead, change lives around you.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the positive role models you have placed in my life. Thank you for loving me so much that you sent your Son Jesus, to be the perfect example for living life. Teach me to love you with all I have and to love others as much as I love myself. Amen.