32 before 32- Lesson 1: Show up

This is a part of a series explained in the button down below.

As a man, nothing is more important to me than making my friends/family feel valued. As an athletics coach, nothing is more important to me than making my athletes feel valued. As a teacher, nothing is more important to me than making my students feel valued. As a counselor, nothing is more important to me than making my campers feel valued. In my mind and in all of these examples, there is one way to show these different people that they are valued: show up.

It may not seem much on the outside, but being there for those who you care about says a thousand times more than any words you can form. It’s not always easy to show up, but if you can be present then try to be. Two important examples of showing up come from my youngest brother and one of my former co-teachers.

Back in 2015 my youngest brother Keenan was a senior in high school. He was in the middle of the football season and his team was doing very well. When playoff time came, I was at every single game from pregame warmups to waiting outside the locker room for him to emerge. Living in Illinois and Keenan playing football in Wisconsin, I drove to: Brookfield, Cedar Grove, Marshall and Ripon. That’s an average of 104.25 miles per trip! Obviously being so far away and putting over 830 miles on my car did cost on gas an checkups, but being there for Keenan was far more important to me.

A couple weeks ago I was invited to a protest at my friend’s church. Having never been to a protest in my life I was a little hesitant because of my own fears. However being able to stand (or kneel) beside her advocating for social change showed her how much not only the issue but our relationship means to me. Even though the church was only a few miles from my house I had to sacrifice some mild discomfort to show how much she means to me.

In short: if you can, try to show up for those who matter to you. Make people feel valued by being present in their life. It’s big gesture that does not require a ton of talent to complete.

My brother Kerry, Keenan my dad and Me after Keenan’s last game in high school in Ripon, WI

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