Helping Others is Rewarding
Some of the best things I have done for myself involved helping other people. Giving my time to help other people in turn benefited me mentally and emotionally. Helping other people increased my self-esteem as a person of value. I had activities to plan and anticipate. I got to know as many new people as I did in high school. This work introduced me to professionals outside my specialty. My personal network expanded to include friends in medicine, law, education, technology, broadcast media, politics, religion, and so on across the spectrum of professions. I was able to use the leadership skills I develop as a Navy officer and as a businessman. Then, from my experience in volunteering, I learned from other people how to create new programs and build volunteer teams. Moreover, I had the positive feeling that I was making life more fun and rewarding for other people.
Here are places where I had so many personal benefits from helping other people. Perhaps my experience can benefit you.
If you have kids in school, you may find that volunteering in your kids’ schools has many benefits.
In Sacramento public schools, my wife and I created a program to increase school safety in a way that benefited the faculty and students.
I had the privilege of working with education experts in understanding and creating a forum for communicating across different cultures and ideologies.
With my wife’s support, I started the High School Safety Summit, a district-wide program to introduce students, parents, teachers, staff, administrators, and members of the community to programs for higher student engagement and higher graduation rates. To create pride in students for the school my own kids attended, I created the annual Cornell West Distinguished Award. In the first year, one of the school’s alumni, Dr. Cornel West, returned to speak to 700 students on the John F. Kennedy campus in Sacramento. Using this program, the school continued in future years to honor influential alumni.
At the request of a high school administrator, I worked with the school district’s facilities manager and a cell phone company to build lighting for on-campus nighttime football games.
Adult Recreational Sports
Never an elite athlete, I did enjoy playing adult softball and soccer. At first, I played on teams that friends organized through city parks and recreation. Overtime, my wife and I worked with the City of Sacramento to create new adult softball and soccer teams.
One of the most rewarding experiences I had was coaching my second daughter’s teen soccer team. I recruited two adults to help me with training the team skills and stunts.
One of the most important things that I did was to hold a parent meeting before the beginning of the season. Given the freedom, at youth soccer matches, parents will set their lawn chairs along the touch line and yell instructions at and criticize the players. I instructed the parents to set up their chairs ten yards away from the field. Additionally, I told them not to speak to individual players directly during the game. No one could raise their voice or criticize one of my players. However, I did encourage cheering.
Personally, I never yelled coaching instructions or criticized my players during a play. I used the games to learn the things I needed to teach the players in the next game.
My method of coaching is not for everyone. However, from a personal point of view, I found it distracting when coaches yelled at me during a game. My focus went from the game to the person yelling. I didn’t want my players to have that distraction.
At halftime, I did make adjustments and helped my players see how they could take advantage of the weaknesses of their opponents.
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