“To whom much is given, much is required.”
I am very blessed to be able to work with young people from age four all the way up to 18. I’ve come to recognize that young people are 20% of the world’s population and 100% of the future. The way I choose to carry myself seven days/week and 24 hours/day is with the knowledge that I’m under a microscope. And going back to the saying above, I do not take lightly that I’ve been a mentor for so many young people for close to four decades. Seldom can I go to any place of business in the Research-Triangle area without being confronted by one of my former student-athletes. Very seldom do I see one of them, and they will not greet me. That greeting is my “thank you.”
I like to empower young people. Implementing peer leadership and providing them opportunities to lead allows them to build confidence and grow from their challenges. As a mentor you’re there when they need assistance, and I’m more than happy to assist them, whether it’s a pat on the back or a positive comment. And from time to time I have no problem giving out tough love. Sometimes as a mentor that’s what you have to do. Don’t always tell them what they want to hear, but what they need to hear.
At the end of the day you have to live your life in a way where your actions speak louder than your words. I’ve been committed to helping young people ever since I turned 18, and I’m blessed that I found my passion at an early age.
More broadly, I had no clue the impact I’ve had on adults as it relates to the sport of jump rope around the world. One of whom was my friend and mentor, Patrick Harrigan, who I just lost recently. After Patrick passed away, it touched me when his daughter reached out to me. He was a mentor of mine and his daughter shared that he looked to me as a mentor. We were the same age.
I’m also starting to receive communication from different parts of the world, because of my role in the leadership side of jump rope. I’ve been blessed to have traveled to over thirty countries with the Bouncing Bulldogs program and throughout traveling have developed relationships with many individuals who have become my mentors and vice versa.
I don’t think that’s something I set out to do. Being a good listener, I was willing to listen to people who didn’t speak the same language as me or have the same philosophies and beliefs. I listened because I cared about them and the words they had to share and recognized the positive impact they could have on the sport around the world. Many adults reach out to me for advice and many of those are my dear friends now.
You don’t go looking to be a mentor for a person, but when you listen to people and make them feel like a person of value, that relationship becomes strong and the trust gets stronger. That friendship has to be there first and the mentor relationship comes after. Mentorship is not something you set out to do, it’s just who you are.