Last night I watched The Jackie Robinson Story with my daughter who has been captivated by the athlete for years. Then we switched over to see the Olympics and watched the U.S. women’s bobsled teams compete. This morning I heard a discussion about what makes Olympic heroes, and all of this is melding into this post.
Since we are in the midst of the Olympics, I’ll begin there. The talk I heard this morning was emphasizing that medals don’t make heroes. The media love to play up the behind-the-scenes stories of athletes who overcome the odds to make it to the ultimate competition, but even that is not necessarily heroic. The heroes are the athletes who find ways to make their accomplishments a benefit to others.
While Americans are thrilled for the skating pair Meryl Davis and Charlie Gold to have won the gold medal, I was even happier to find out they are part of a program called Classroom Champions. Little did I know last night, as I watched Elana Meyers bobsled at world-class speeds, that she is also in the program. Go to their website, http://www.classroomchampions.org/athletes, to read about the Olympians I find heroic, the ones who devote their own time to reach out to kids in high-needs schools, to inspire those kids to dream big and strive to reach their potential.
Now I turn back to Jackie Robinson, a baseball player so full of potential that he was hand-picked by the Brooklyn Dodgers owner, Branch Rickey, as the first African-American to play in the major leagues. Both men took enormous risks, and there is a scene in both the original movie and “42” where Rickey tells Robinson that no matter what insults are thrown at him, no matter how angry the other players and fans might make him, he cannot fight back. The self-control required under the abuses Robinson suffered, the fear that he and his wife faced on many occasions, and the triumph they must have felt every time another player or fan embraced Robinson are emotional extremes many of us rarely encounter, but it was daily life for them for a long time. Because Robinson accepted Rickey’s challenge, and Rickey supported Robinson throughout the toughest times, the two men touched more lives than can be counted. Far beyond the ball fields, people were challenged to confront their beliefs about the racial barriers that existed, what it meant to be free and American. That’s heroic.
We can’t all be Olympic athletes or Jackie Robinsons. But every time you reach your mentee in a positive way, every time they think of you when making a choice, you are making the same kinds of accomplishments the truly heroic people do: it’s all about helping others. And that is a golden thing.
An exciting event is happening at Tabor on February 25th!
Tabor is holding an Open House and Business Card Exchange event at our Doylestown campus on Tuesday, February 25th from 5:30-9:00 PM. We encourage all mentors, as well as those of you who are interested in learning more about our services and personnel, to come, grab a bite to eat and drink, and network with business and community leaders in Bucks County. We are really looking forward to opening our doors and showing what we have done for Bucks County over the past 100 years!
Click the link below to view the invitation:
Tabor Children’s Services Open House Event Invitation
Ahhh, there is Jill’s favorite word! But I had to slip it in there, because the mentor appreciation night provided me a meaningful connection as I near an eagerly awaited match. Perhaps you had a similar experience that evening:
Four of us chatted at the appreciation night. Two are mentors who have been with their mentees for some time, and two of us are waiting to be matched, hoping that happens soon.
The four of us were of three generations. One is struggling through her own medical treatments, one is caring for her mother. We are retired, working, working mother, and mother at home with young kids. One of the mentors is devoted but exasperated with her mentee’s decisions and actions. The other feels she has seen great progress in her mentee and is optimistic.
As we women said our good-byes for the evening, we commented on how we were so different, yet all the same. There is something that draws each of us out of our own circle of needs and caring and towards a new person in need. “You’re good people,” the oldest of us said to the two of us still waiting to be matched.
Being a good mentor is, I suspect, neither simple nor easy, but after talking that night in this group of women, I feel like I have all of Tabor behind me even more to support me once I am matched. I will draw on stories we shared and remind myself that my role is not to “fix” things for my mentee, or to miraculously change her life for her. I’m not a perfect person, but I have something to offer, and that is a lesson a mentor can both live by and offer to our mentees.
Stay warm and safe today, and optimistic always.
From the Chronicle of Evidence Based Mentoring, please read this mentor’s story of how she has inspired hope in her mentee for almost a decade and through insurmountable odds and also how it inspired her to live her best life. A must read for anyone who mentors:
We hope all of you reading this are finally enjoying some Vitamin D and have survived last week’s storms! As we start off this week with high hopes that another “snowmageddon” won’t find us in Bucks County (yes, we have seen the forecast but we are eternal optimists), we wanted to take the time to share some program updates:
1. Our next new mentor orientation is scheduled for Tuesday, March 4th @ 4:00 PM. If you are interested in joining us, please fill out an application and set up a time to interview with Madison or myself!
2. Thanks to our favorite Suburban County Development Specialist, Rosaleen Holohan, we are excited to announce new partnerships with both the Bucks County Audubon Society (http://www.bcas.org/) and The Bucks County Children’s Museum (www.buckskids.org). Contact us for more information!
3. Also a shout out to Coach’s in Doylestown for hosting us with great sandwiches and WIFI that helped get us through the last storm. Check them out at http://www.coachsteakandhoagie.com/.
Have a great week and stay tuned for new posts!