Saturday, July 26, 2008

Learn Earn Return

While on a flight to Miami this week I read an uplifting article in Ebony magazine written by Jerome Bettis. Bettis is the former running back for the Steelers, who has since retired. Coincidentally, his position was filled by my cousin, Willie (Junior) Parker. In the article, Bettis discusses his philosophy of the three stages of life.
1) Learn: Education, Growth and Development 2) Earn: Make a living, Provide for your family, Earn a place in life 3) Return: Combine what you’ve learned and what you’ve earned and return. The return stage is where you have the ability to change lives.

Bettis states, 35 years ago a man in Detroit set out to make a change in his community. The man felt if he could influence at least one child he would have succeeded in improving his community. That man was Reggie McKenzie former NFL player and that child was Bettis. Now Bettis is on a mission to Return. When he was a freshman in college Bettis would return home to Detroit on breaks, determined to reach out to other inner-city kids at churches and rec centers about making the right choices in life. Bettis is also the founder of a Foundation for at risk children. Talk about paying it forward. Bettis believes that success is not about being successfully, but the ability to make others successful.

While Bettis feels it’s important to learn and earn it’s equally important to return and give back. To help others with what you’ve been privileged with. I believe this is true for every person, you don’t have to be in the NFL, rich or famous to return and give back. If you are reading this you are privileged. I know that the world will not change because I have made a contribution to a worthy cause or adopted a child, however that child's life will be forever changed.

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