EDITORIAL: Potential book celebrating efforts of our teachers, coaches a marvelous idea
Recently, Kevin Lawrence experienced two life-defining moments on the same day.
To quote Charles Dickens: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
Now, the Red Lion High School head baseball coach, Susquehannock High School social studies teacher and high school basketball official (yes, he's a very busy man) is determined to use that day of contrasts as an impetus for a greater good.
He should be applauded for that.
Lawrence recently used a Facebook post to announce that he is seeking positive, life-changing stories about coaches and teachers who had made a significant impact on the lives of people they touched. Lawrence is hoping to use the stories for a book that he wants to have published in the near future.
Pivotal day: He got the idea after a day that will be forever etched in his memory.
While attending the wedding of one of his former basketball players, Lawrence was told by the bride’s father that, besides her parents, he was one the most influential persons in her life.
“That was an extraordinarily meaningful thing to be told,” Lawrence said. “Especially when you weren’t looking for it. That was a really powerful message for me.”
A few hours later, a different message and tone was delivered on Twitter. After leading the Lions to their most successful baseball season in school history, including a first-ever District 3 Class 6-A title game appearance, Lawrence was a bit unnerved to find a negative opinion that he felt was directed at him as the coach.
Unfortunately, that kind of reaction is nothing new these days. Social media is all too often used to criticize and intimidate, rather than praise and encourage. Coaches and teachers are often the targets of such ugly diatribes.
“When adults behave like children, the children never learn to behave like adults,” Lawrence said. “So good people don’t want to coach anymore.”
He’s absolutely right about that, and we need all the good coaches, and teachers, we can get right now.
Turning negative into positive: Obviously, the negative post was a tough pill to swallow for Lawrence, but instead of brooding, he decided to turn the experience into a positive force by soliciting feel-good stories about coaches and teachers who have had a constructive impact on young lives. He set up an email account (firstname.lastname@example.org) where interested folks can send him their gratifying tales.
It was a refreshing reaction and a marvelous idea.
Most folks, if asked, can quickly recall a coach or a teacher who made a favorable and lasting difference in the development of their character.
“There are good people all around the country and I would really like to create a profile so that we can get the word out, because a lot of the behavior that we see around us today is just not OK. And there are people that, in spite of (that) type of nonsense, are still doing all of the right things, and there are people whose lives are enriched because of it.”
Idea catching fire: Not surprisingly, Lawrence’s idea is quickly catching fire. He’s already received dozens of stories and more keep pouring in.
In this day and age, when boorish behavior often seems the norm in our culture, it’s invigorating to see positive and generous role models not only recognized, but celebrated.
Here’s hoping that Lawrence writes his book and that it’s a great success.
We could all use a few more feel-good stories.