What good, Isaac’s mother and the servants wondered, was such a bookish boy? The servants thought he was “silly” and “would never be good for any thing.”
– from Isaac the Alchemist: Secrets of Isaac Newton, Reveal’d by Mary Losure, 2017, Candlewick Press
Ten years ago, I was getting ready for what would become my final season of coaching football. The reasons why that ended are inconsequential. Things happen. In these ten years, though, I’ve learned a lot of new things and done things I never dreamed possible. One of the highlights has been seeing those young men I had the honor to coach become awesome husbands, fathers, business owners, farmers, teachers, coaches, and citizens.
That is a pretty sweet feeling.
I like the quote above from a great middle-grade nonfiction book called, Isaac the Alchemist: Secrets of Isaac Newton, Reveal’d. As you can see, most of the people in Isaac Newton’s young life, the locals, the servants, and even his own mother, didn’t think he would ever “…be good for any thing.” That’s pretty harsh! It’s extremely harsh when you think that nobody in one of the greatest scientists to ever walk the planet’s young life believed in him. Not one person saw the potential in the young Isaac.
The same happened to many of those young football and baseball players I mentioned above. Some were as ornery as all get-go. Some weren’t the greatest of athletes. Some weren’t even able to spell “honor roll” on the best of days. Some of these kids were told or shown on a daily basis they did not matter. They didn’t fit the mold so they deserved no attention or breaks.
Teachers, parents, and coaches, don’t be the one who tells the kids in your life they “would never be good for any thing.” Find something positive in everyone no matter how deep you have to scrape. See the good through all the bad.
As another season rolls around, coaches from 1st year to 30-year, take a minute to look around at the faces that show up in the locker room. Teachers, as the doors open on another school year, study the faces of the kids you are handed.
- Make a difference in each of those individuals.
- Make an impression on them and allow them to make an impression on you.
- Believe in them even if you are the only adult in their life that does.
- Let them believe and trust in you.
Cultivate something that will allow you to smile in ten years when those obnoxious, boisterous, and cocky kids grow up and become likable adults against everyone’s expectations.
Take it from an old ball coach, it is well worth it!
Never lose faith in your players, your students, your children. No matter how dark the days seem, grab tightly to that one strand of awesome in them that sometimes only you can see.
Because…if a good-for-nothing kid like that lazy, book-toting Isaac Newton can grow up to be SIR ISAAC NEWTON, then every kid has a chance!
Good luck to all coaches and teachers!
Make the difference in young lives.
Enjoy the ride!