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Becoming the Man God Wants You To Be #9: Responsibility

If I am to become the man God wants me to be, I must develop the attribute of responsibility. Responsibility is “the state or fact of being responsible, answerable, or accountable for something within one’s power, control, or management.” (

Responsibility is one of the attributes that the Heart of A Champion Character Development Program ( strives to develop in young people in its outreach program. Their written and video programs approach this under 4 subtopics: Responsibility to Work, Responsibility to Family, Responsibility to Others, and Responsibility to Serve. We shall use that same approach in discussing it here. Please consider …

Responsibility to Work

“Work is seemingly the center of our lives. We work at our jobs, we work at school, we work in our interest, we work at our relationships; everywhere, in everything we seem to be constantly working. Yet success in any of these areas comes down to the amount of responsibility we accept and act upon. An old truth tells us that, ‘whatever we sow (or plant) we will also reap (or harvest).’ The greater the effort we put into a process, the greater the results will be. Jobs, school, relationships, sports, the fine arts – no matter what it is, the results we see are in direct correlation to the effort we put in. Hard work produces results. The responsibility we each have is to use our gifts and talents to the fullest and give every situation our all. When we do that, we will have the opportunity to see amazing results. Be reliable in the work before you, so that you can realize a great harvest of success, be rewarded and be given new and greater opportunities (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Responsibility, Volume 3, p.4).

Christina Bernal

“Christina Bernal was like any other student, faced with the difficulties of school and trying to get good grades. But one day, a special teacher began to share with Christina a vision for how she could become successful. Inspired by the challenge to work harder, Christina responded and her hard work produced great results” (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Responsibility, Volume 3, p.4).

Stephen Shaw, her fourth-grade teacher, introduced her to a program called Odyssey of the Mind. The spark that this program ignited in her, stayed with her throughout high school and she became valedictorian of her graduating class at Lyford High School in Lyford, Texas. Near the end of her high school career, she was also notified that she was receiving a full scholarship to the school of her dreams. Christiana attended Texas State University in San Marcos in 2004 as one of that year’s recipients of The Terry Foundation Scholarships.

Al Hollingsworth

“Al Hollingsworth is a business leader, international speaker, minister, author and founder and CEO of Aldelano Corporation and Aldelano Solar Solutions. A successful entrepreneur of 50 years, Hollingsworth’s heart is to help others succeed in the visions, dreams, and ideas God has given them. Hollingsworth founded Aldelano Corporation in 1968 as a young man living in Los Angeles. Today, Aldelano is a nationwide provider of packaging and staffing services with a client list of Fortune 500 companies.

In 1985, Al and his wife Hattie founded B.O.S.S. the Movement Ministries—a program dedicated to mentoring youth in both business skills and spiritual disciplines. Al and Hattie also started Vertical Leap, an adult training program which allows others to start B.O.S.S. programs in their communities. Today, B.O.S.S. the Movement is a series of training curricula that have been planted in nations throughout the world, producing thousands of successful leaders and entrepreneurs.

As Al and Hattie traveled throughout the world with their ministry they experienced first-hand the struggles stemming from the lack of infrastructure. The lack of power, refrigeration and clean water – particularly in remote areas – was creating a daily living crisis and continuing a cycle of malnutrition and poor health, poor living conditions, educational setbacks, poverty and the inability to expand business and resources. The Hollingsworths saw that the governments were not addressing the issues fast enough and other countries who claimed to invest in the regions were getting rich while the countries themselves remained poor. Al’s heart for ministry combined with his business acumen led to the development of his most recent innovations including the Solar ColdBox – a solar-powered, industrial-sized cold storage unit that offers both refrigeration and freezing temperatures; the Aldelano Solar WaterMaker – which produces drinkable water and ice from the moisture in the air, and the Aldelano Solar PowerPak – a line of industrial-sized solar power generation systems. These products are designed to provide Instant Infrastructure to remote and underdeveloped areas, empowering small farmers and businesses to convert and monetize their own natural resources through the Power of Solar.

Today, Aldelano is a global leader in introducing solar technologies to developing areas around the world and Al and Hattie are committed to aiding developing countries in eliminating waste and creating economic independence and growth for their people and communities.” (

Describing the B.O.S.S. program, Hollingsworth says “The program trains youth ages 7-19 to develop self-esteem, self-confidence, public-speaking ability, and virtuous business skills through 20 weeks of classes in two-hour blocks after school and on weekends. Subjects include poise and leadership, motivation, virtuous principles of business and economics, and entrepreneurship and finances. Young people develop positive thinking habits, create business plans and engage in Internet entrepreneurship, where they are allowed to earn income from products they sell through web-based businesses they set up. Many of those involved in the program are fatherless and poor, the typical targets for urban gangs. These kids – and all other types of people – can be trained to work for success without sacrificing principle. That’s really the heartbeat of where we are vested. If you take a look where the young people are moving and running toward, they’re attracted to economics. In order to stay potent, we’re going to have to be able to address that in the lives of our young people…. Work is not a job, it is a purpose… Working is not something that I do because it is a task. I do it because it is a love. I work hard, and I have great joy – the joy of purpose” (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Responsibility, Volume 3, p.6).

Responsibility to Family

“In today’s culture there are so many people who have denied their responsibility within their families. Family discord and disunity are more common than ever today. Yet it is not supposed to be that way. Rather than finding fault and being critical, a better way is for family members to join together and each take responsibility to do their part in the family. Responsibility is not just doing what you say you will do, but doing what you know you should do – even when it is difficult. But that is needed in families to keep them functioning as effectively and efficiently as possible. It takes a contribution from every member, including you. How will you respond? (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Responsibility, Volume 3, p.7).

Don Hooten

“Don Hooten has experienced great heartache through the death of his teenage son. Don is convinced that steroid use led Taylor Hooten to commit suicide. Taylor’s death inspired Don to reach others kids who are experimenting with performance-enhancing drugs. He feels a sense of responsibility to his son to do everything he can to help save other kids” (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Responsibility, Volume 3, p.7).

Taylor began using steroids, without his parent’s knowledge, in hopes of making his high school baseball team, the Plano Westside Bombers. Changes in his behavior brought the steroid use to the attention of his parents. When they confronted him about it, he promised to quit. But the prolonged use had taken its toll, and about six weeks after he had told everyone that he had stopped using, he hung himself. Don says, “There are no words that I can use to describe what the impact of losing a child is, let alone losing one to suicide for any cause.”

Don started the Taylor Hooten Foundation ( in hopes of helping other kids. Don has become a national voice to educate about the dangers of steroid use. He has spoken to schools and parent groups across America and testified before congress. He says that users deceive themselves into thinking that they are not “doing drugs.”

Just Think Twice is a United States Government, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) website.

It tells Taylor’s story,

“Taylor Hooton was a star pitcher on his high school team, a handsome teenager who had everything going for him. Until steroids caught up with him, and he took his own life.

It took a while for his parents to connect Taylor’s recent weight and muscle increases with his uncharacteristic mood swings and violent, angry behavior. Like most parents, they didn’t know that these and other symptoms, like the acne he had developed on his back, were signs of steroids use. Taylor had always been a good son, a terrific athlete and had his act together. Taylor just wanted to make the varsity baseball team, and steroids had been recommended to him as a way to get bigger faster.

At first, his parents didn’t know what was happening, but they were alarmed. They took Taylor to the family doctor and asked that he be tested for drugs, not knowing that steroids were not part of the screening panel. He got a clean bill of health, but things continued to worsen. Even though he’d been using a cocktail of steroids and other hormones to bulk up, the drugs were wreaking havoc on his body and emotions. In one of his increasingly frequent rages, he told his mother he would take a knife and kill himself. His parents insisted that he see a psychiatrist.

After many sessions with the psychiatrist, Taylor mentioned his steroids use. Part of his treatment was to tell his parents about his problem and he promised to stop using. Later, when Taylor stole a digital camera and a laptop computer, his whole family confronted him about his unacceptable behavior. Taylor was grounded. After tearful apologies, Taylor begged his mother to lift his punishment, but she said no. Taylor went to his room and hanged himself. It was only after his death that the whole picture came into focus for Taylor’s friends and family.

The police and Taylor’s dad found the steroids and syringes in his room, and the medical examiner found them in his body—even though it was long after Taylor had stopped using. What Taylor’s parents and Taylor himself did not fully understand was the deep depression that steroids users experience when they suddenly stop taking the drug. (

Pamela Thomas-Graham

Thomas-Graham began her career at Goldman, Sachs & Co., where she was a summer associate in the investment banking division while she was student at Harvard Business School. In 1995, she was the first African American woman to become partner at the international management consulting firm McKinsey & Company. [9]

In 1999, Thomas-Graham joined NBC as president of and in 2001, she became chief executive of the cable TV network CNBC. Her successful launch of the network’s business website became a Harvard Business School Case study authored by Harvard Business School Professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter. In September 2005, she left CNBC [10] [11] and was hired as president of Liz Claiborne, Inc. [11]

In January 2010, Thomas-Graham joined the Executive Board of Credit Suisse as Chief Talent, Branding and Communications Officer. [12] In August 2016, she was elected by Clorox to serve as the Lead independent director of its board…

Thomas-Graham serves on the board of the New York Philharmonic and the Parsons School of Design. She is a member of the Economic Club of New York and the Council on Foreign Relations. [13]

Thomas-Graham is the author of a three-title book series, “Ivy League Mysteries”, published by Simon & Schuster: A Darker Shade Of Crimson (1998), Blue Blood (1999),[14] and Orange Crushed (2004).[5]

Thomas-Graham is the creator and owner of Dandelion Chandelier, a blog that explores the intersection of luxury, wellness, marketing, and technology. [15] (

But as the Heart of Champion article says of her, “Among a myriad of accolades, she still considers her most important role to be that of Mom.” At the time that the HOC article was written, these words were used to describe her, “Running a big business and writing mystery novels would seem enough to handle, however Thomas-Graham still sees each of those duties as secondary to raising her three young children. She and Larry have a son and twins (a boy and a girl) who are three years younger. Creating enough quality time to spend with the children is a focus of Thomas-Graham’s life. She wakes up at 4:30 every morning to write, so she can reserve time to spend with her children in the morning before heading off to work. After work, she is home to spend more time with the kids, playing and reading. On the weekends most days are especially centered on fun outings with the kids, taking them to museums and the ballet” (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Responsibility, Volume 3, p.9).

Responsibility to Others

“Have you ever realized how much other people need you? There are so many people around us who are hurting and in need, with nowhere to go to get help. Yet, you have something to give, something you can do to help meet the needs of others. You may not open a shelter for battered women, but there is no reason why you couldn’t. Whether it is cutting a homebound person’s grass, or conducting a car wash to raise money for the local homeless shelter, you can do something to make a difference. Others need you; they need what you have to give. When we all realize that we each are equally responsible for the community around us, then we can truly make a difference in the world. But all it takes is one person with passion to get it started. Will that person B U?” (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Responsibility, Volume 3, p.10)

Kris Hogan

“Kris Hogan is the Head Football Coach for Faith Christian School in Grapevine, Texas. During the 2008 football season Faith played a team from Gainesville State School, a maximum security facility for violent juvenile offenders from across Texas. Prior to the game, Coach Hogan and the Lions players recognized a unique opportunity to impact their opponents in a positive way” (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Responsibility, Volume 3, p.10)

From the perspective of the Gainesville State School Tornados, it had been a discouraging season. After suffering through a 2008 season that saw them lose eight consecutive games, and after scoring just fourteen points all season long while giving up over three hundred, the Tornados traveled to Grapevine to finish their season against private-school powerhouse Faith Christian.

Kris Hogan had developed a game plan for that night that had nothing to do with football. He sent an email to the entire Faith community asking fans, students, and parents to do something out of the ordinary, cheer for Gainesville and make the boys feel like they were their own. They set up a “spirit line” for the Gainesville team to run through and fans sat on their side of the field. It made the Gainesville team feel like they were the home team!  Though Gainesville lost the game by a score of 33-14, they went home winners!

Justin Gregorich

“At just 5 feet 3 and 130 pounds, 14-yearold Justin Gregorich couldn’t lift as much weight as other aspiring football players at Clearwater (FL) Countryside High School. In fact, his perceived lack of strength became a target for some of the other students, who have him a hard time about it.

On the afternoon of January 28, 2005, the teasing made Justin so upset he left practice early and began walking home. He was dejected and worried. As he walked, he thought about calling his mother, who normally gave him a ride home from school. But for some reason, he just kept on walking.

As he walked alongside Florida State Road 580, his mind raced with thoughts. Why did I leave? Will the coach be mad? Should I go back? Suddenly, a gold Lincoln Town Car came around the bend in the road. Justin watched as the driver lost control of the car, which careened off the road right in front of Justin, flattened a chain-link fence and barreled into a retention pond. Justin began running toward the care. ‘It happened so fast. I turned my head and bam! – the car was in the water.’

As he watched the car sink toward the bottom, Justin quickly dropped his backpack and dove into the frigid water. He is, by his own admission, an average swimmer. ‘I knew there were alligators and snakes in the pond,’ Justin said. ‘But right then, I just wanted to get to that car. Nothing went through my head except that I had to save that man, so I took my shoes off so as not to be weighted down, and dove right in. I didn’t even think about what I was doing…I said, ‘Oh, my gosh, I have to save this guy.’

Two other passersby, Michael McBrayer and Shawn Brady, who also saw the incident jumped into the water after Justin. One of them opened the car door. Justin grabbed the driver’s right arm. The other man took the left arm, and together they swam 50 feet to the bank, pulling the driver to safety. The three had saved the life of 82-year-old Raymond Kane, who was taken to a nearby hospital where he made a quick recovery from minor injuries. ‘The weird thing was, I didn’t really want to leave football,’ said Justin. ‘I just left because I got this urge.’

‘It’s amazing – there are snakes and there are alligators and it’s cold, and it’s amazing to see people, with no regard for their own safety, all three of them just jumped in right after that guy, said Mike Eash, a paramedic for Safety Harbor Fire Rescue.

What followed for Justin was a whirlwind of national media attention, pats on the back at school and phone calls from strangers who were touched by his story. What made the story even more poignant was the revelation that Justin has Tourette’s syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder. His story spread from the Tampa Bay area to newspapers across the country, NBC’s Today show, and just about every broadcast and cable news and talk outlet. In a statement read on the Today show, a recovering Kane called Justin’s actions ‘heroic and unselfish.’

But Justin remained unfazed, ‘Everybody’s making a big deal of it,’ Justin told the media at a surprise party in his honor, just days after his heroic feat. ‘I don’t really think it’s a big deal.’ He said he felt Kane’s real saviors were McBrayer and Brady. ‘They’re more heroical than me,’ he said.

Justin’s father Jim Gregorich said the experience has been a boost for his son, who is in a program for learning-disabled students. ‘God made him the way he is … and I think he is realizing that there is a lot of good in that,’ the father said. ‘When you get knocked down a lot, sometimes your self-esteem gets really hammered. He’s realizing that to a lot of other people, he’s special.

Justin’s mother wasn’t at all surprised by the actions of her son, whom she says has a ‘kind soul’ and is a hero not for what he did, but simply because of who he is. ‘He would do this for anybody,’ she said.”

” (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Responsibility, Volume 3, p.12)

Responsibility to Serve

“Each of us has a responsibility to serve in one form or another, and each of us will be presented with opportunities to do so throughout our lifetime. Like Roger, you have a chance to make a difference – whether in your local community or neighborhood, or around the world – whether with just one person or among many. It all begins with one person with a heart to serve someone else. Follow your heart and find a way to serve someone. Take the responsibility to serve and make a difference. Remember, U R needed!”  (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Responsibility, Volume 3, p.13)

Roger Staubach

”In the 1960’s, Roger Staubach was one of the most popular people in America. A star quarterback at the U.S. Naval academy, Roger won the Heisman Trophy and was on his way to a pro football career. But he had made a commitment to serve his country in the armed forces, which is what he did during the conflict in Vietnam. For Roger, he was simply fulfilling his responsibility to serve.”  (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Responsibility, Volume 3, p.13)

The responsibility to serve your country is important to many people, even if you’re a star. And that was Roger’s priority, even though he had been drafted by the Dallas Cowboys. After serving his country in Vietnam, he came back to play for the Dallas Cowboys, eventually leading them to a 24-3 win over the Miami Dolphins is Super Bowl VI. That win turned the Cowboys into an NFL dynasty and elevated Staubach to place as one of football’s consummate quarterbacks, a role that Staubach inherited from his own role model Bart Starr.

Clay Walker

“Multiple Sclerosis (MS) has not slowed down country music star Clay Walker. In fact, it’s sped him up a bit. Walker was just 26 when he was diagnosed with MS in 1996. At that point, he had released two albums, which included five No. 1 hits.

He had been an athlete when he was younger, playing high school football, but his music career had taken him away from his physical regimen. The MS diagnosis made him recommit to physical activity. ‘Before, all I did was sing,’ Walker told Parade Magazine. ‘Now, I want to do everything. I’m so much more active. At the same time, I’m more introspective, both as a person and in my music.’

The disease also didn’t slow down Walker’s music career. He now has nine albums, for of them platinum and two of them gold, with more than eight million copies sold from just those six albums. Among Walker’s 11 No. 1 singles are: ‘Live Until I Die,’ ‘If I Could Make A Living,’ ‘This Woman And This Man,’ ‘Then What,’ and ‘Chain Of Love.’ He is one of only a few artists to have one of his songs included five years consecutively in Billboard’s year-end Top 10 country list. He’s also been one of the country’s top 10-grossing touring acts several times.

Walker knows that he has been fortunate among MS patients in the fact that he recovered most of his physical and mental capacities. The disease affects some 2.5 million people worldwide, including 400,000 Americans. It affects the brain and spinal cord resulting in loss of muscle control, vision, balance, sensation or thinking ability. The nerves of the brain and spinal cord are damaged by one’s own immune system. The immune system attacks the brain and spinal cord, the two components of the central nervous system, which decreases the transmission of nerve impulses, or messages, between the brain and other parts of the body, messages that control muscle movements, such as walking and talking.

A recording artist without the transmission of nerve impulses to his extremities seems unrealistic. But Walker has regained 95 percent of the functions he lost when the first symptoms appeared. He now rides horses in competition and lives on a ranch outside Houston. His life is nearly ‘normal.’  If you count making your living performing on stage normal.

‘When you’re young, you feel like you’re going to live forever,’ Walker told Parade Magazine. ‘I don’t know at what age people realize that they aren’t always going to be here, but I’m grateful that the process was sped up for me. It pushed me to enjoy life more fully.’

The oldest of five kids, Walker started performing country music at local clubs at age 16. By the age of 23, he had his first recording contract. Three years later, he was diagnosed with MS. Now, he feels a responsibility to use his experiences to touch the lives of others. He now sees his purpose as connecting with all the people with whom he comes in contact, and encouraging fellow patients. ‘I really want to make connections with everyone, from family and friends, to strangers and fans,’ he said.

As far as fans, he’s most touched when fans with MS want to meet him after a concert. It bothers him when he hears that those patients aren’t doing everything they can to fight the disease. So in February 2003, he started the Band Against MS Foundation. Merchandise sold at his concerts helps fund it, plus Walker is hoping that fellow entertainers will help as well.

He wants people to know that MS doesn’t have to be disabling. ‘Having MS has changed the way I look at every person in the world,’ he told Parade. ‘But I never let MS stop me from performing or recording. I want people to know that you don’t have to give up your dreams with this disease.”

(Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Responsibility, Volume 3, p.15)


Think about what it takes to demonstrate the proper responsibility in your life: to work, to family, to others, and to serve. I hope that, after reading this month’s article, you know a little more about responsibility and how you can further develop that attribute to Become The Man God Wants You To Be. Thanks for reading…


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Becoming the Man God Wants You To Be #8, December 2020: Respect

If I am to become the man God wants me to be, I must develop the attribute of respect. Respect is “esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability; deference to a right, privilege, privileged position, or someone or something considered to have certain rights or privileges; proper acceptance or courtesy; acknowledgment” ( The word “respect” appears 356 times in Scripture in 13 translations (

Respect is one of the attributes that the Heart of A Champion Character Development Program ( strives to develop in young people in its outreach program. Their written and video programs approach this under 4 subtopics: Respect for Others, Respect for Self, Respect for Those Different From You, and Respect for Authority. We shall use that same approach in discussing it here. Please consider …

Respect for Others

“What does it mean to be a person of respect? To respect someone means you respect who they are and what they stand for, even when you may not agree. Respect their ideas and philosophies, respect their freedoms, respect their standards and convictions, respect their boundaries, respect their possessions and property. Sometimes that even means respecting your opponent, adversary or competitor. That respect must be extended not only to those in authority or those who are not like you, but also to yourself.  At the heart of respect is an understanding of assigning value to everyone. Everyone is worthy of your respect, including yourself. An old saying tells us that we will ‘reap what we have sown’- meaning that we will receive whatever we give to others. Do you give respect? A life without respect given out will be a life without respect received. Respect is one of the most important traits for success in life today. It is also a trait that is missing from many aspects of our culture today. Through respect, we can show other they have value! How will you respond?” (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Respect, Volume 3, p.3)

Woodstone Elementary School

This school in San Antonio, Texas has created a plan to learn respect together. They created Courage Teams to stand up against bullying. Part of the program included a pledge that they created, committed to memory and recite every morning. The result has been A+. Their Pledge says,

“We are not just a class.


We promise to:

STAND UP against bullying and teasing.

STAND TOGETHER for anyone who is getting bullied.

STAND UP AND TELL AN ADULT to make sure the bullying stops.



Dr. Michael Hall

In 2002, Dr. Michael Hall published a book, The American Gentleman: A Contemporary Guide to Chivalry. C. Everett Koop, MD says of the book, “It has been said that the character of a man is like a tree and his actions, good or bad, determine the fruit. The American Gentleman strives to make life more fulfilling and is written to inspire men to adopt a personal philosophy for growth and maturity. Through observation, integrity, spiritual philanthropy, altruism and knowing reality is perception a state of character can be formed for self-improvement, but more than anything else, we learn how to consciously become more considerate of others. You will not find a thousand-and-one rules of etiquette or a guide to hedonism in this book. Instead, you will find a gentleman’s manifesto based on the life experiences and considerations of a cultured and professional American man seeking social civility and greater personal character.”


Readers’ reviews include words similar to this one, “Refreshing and wonderful guide for all men, young and old. Mothers, this book should be required reading for your boys. They will thank you throughout their lifetime for exposing them to these ideals and so will their future wives. Ladies, this book will help you raise your standards and hold men accountable for their behaviors. The author has smartly balanced themes of history, medical and psychological reference, spirituality, morality, with a twist of eroticism. I have a renewed and uncompromising hope in finding a proper gentleman to share my life with.”

Dr. Hall’s quest was “to write a book that provided answers to his own questions and discover the qualities necessary for developing personal character…. Hall believes that developing sound moral character is a key to social civility. He also says a gentleman must stand up for what he believes is right – at all times. By Hall’s definition , a gentleman walks through life in what he calls a ‘state of character,’ observing the needs and concerns of people around him, giving of himself freely without expecting anything in return and always doing what he believes to be right, recognizing his character is linked to his deeds. ‘Trying to achieve chivalric ideals is something we just don’t talk about,’ says Hall. ‘I think this idea of trying to assign gender-specific behavior is something we’re not comfortable with.’  … Hall’s book looks to past tradition to develop a current guide towards civility and respect. He encourages readers to improve their personal character and promotes this idea by asking the reader to focus on what is truly more important: loved ones, family and community. ‘Many men and women have become preoccupied with their own needs and have forgotten about others,’ he explains. ‘It’s time for men to rethink their priorities and make necessary changes to become an American gentleman.’ … Hall specifically points to the need for men to show respect for women – no matter who they are or what role they have in society – something he says has been largely abandoned in today’s culture. ‘By celebrating womanhood, a man remakes himself.’” (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Respect, Volume 3, p.6)

Respect for Self

“You are special, unique, and one-of-a-kind. There is no one else in the world just like you. Nobody else will ever be able to fill the purpose that you will fulfill. The world needs you and what you have to offer. One of life’s greatest challenges is to see yourself NOT as you perceive people view you. Rather, you need to see yourself for the true gifts and talents you possess, and see what you are on your way to becoming in the future. Each of us is a ‘work in progress’, so be patient with yourself. Don’t give up on yourself, and don’t give in to pressure to become something you’re not. Remind yourself that UR special, unique, and one-of-a-kind! U really R!” (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Respect, Volume 3, p.7)

Cheryl Green

Cheryl was born with a rare birth defect that left her unable to walk. For the first seven years of her life, The Shriner’s Hospital for Crippled Children became Cheryl’s virtual home. She underwent numerous surgeries that never really corrected her physical disabilities. She also had a childhood filled with abuse at the hands of her parents. In her twenty’s she was diagnosed with major depression. But Cheryl has fought to regain and maintain her self-respect despite these disadvantages. She says, “Through it all nothing ever took away the spirit to persevere.” She wrote a book, Child of Promise, in which she tells her story and of her motivation and dedication to overcome these disadvantages. She is now an advocate for those who are underrepresented. She graduated from Yale University with honors and has gone on to receive an advance degree in Psychology and serves on several boards of several non-profit organizations.

Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch

“She is a woman with a gift to lead and a passion for young people. Retired United States Army Lieutenant Colonel Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch rose from very humble beginnings to become a woman of significant influence. However, before she could have an impact on others, she needed to learn respect for herself.

Born and raised in a tiny port barrio in Laredo, Texas, Kickbusch overcame the severe challenges of poverty, discrimination and illiteracy to become a model of success. Breaking barriers and setting new standards in the military, Kickbusch rose to the position of senior officer and became the highest-ranking Hispanic woman in the Combat Support Field of the United States Army. Known as a charismatic, passionate and entertaining speaker, Kickbusch today takes her powerful life message of respect and leadership to colleges, corporations and government institutions in the United States and abroad….

During her distinguished military career, Kickbusch held a variety of demanding and critical leadership positions ranging from Executive Officer for Information Systems Command to Technical Advisor to the Joint Command and Control Warfare Center to Company Commander of an all-male platoon….

In 1996 Kickbusch was selected from 26,000 candidates to assume the post that would put her on track for General Office rank. She declined the honor, retired as a twenty-year veteran and founded Education Achievement Services to realize her personal dream of helping people of all ages succeed….

Such a distinguished career looked unlikely during Kickbusch’s upbringing. One of 10 children growing up in a poor family, she says she learned that self-respect has little to do with wealth or poverty…. ‘I grew up with what I call a set of core values. They were never negotiable.’

Much of Kickbusch’s foundation of values came from her mother who worked as a maid. Her model served to instill in Kickbusch a clear sense of self-respect. She recalls her mother telling her, ‘I don’t expect you to clean toilets. I expect you to, whatever you go after, to do it to the best of your ability.’

Her immigrant father also had a profound impact on her self-esteem and her perspective. ‘He said, ‘This is not my country, but it is yours. If you can give nothing to it, take nothing from it. We don’t come here for handouts. And if you must sacrifice something for it, even your life, then so be it.’

These words of wisdom stuck. From a core of self-respect, Kickbusch has not only realized personal success, she has also passed the lessons on to millions of others. ‘We can all make our dreams come true, to not give up hope, but rather to take charge of your lives,’ she says. ‘Make a real difference in your families and communities and follow a disciplined road map to success.’” (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Respect, Volume 3, p. 9)

Respect for Those Different From You

“We live in a world of labels. There are designer labels on jeans, and brand labels on all kinds of products. In the world of buying and selling, labels are often how we can tell a good product from a bad product, but we also use labels on people. We label them by color, socio-economic status, and appearance. If we view them to be unlike us, they receive one label. If we see them as like us, they receive another label. Like clothing, one brand is accepted and the other is not. Yet people are not jeans or soft drinks. We talk loud and long about tolerance in our society today. But what does it mean to live a life of tolerance? It means that you accept someone just as they are, even if they look, act, or live in ways that are different from you. This is unconditional acceptance and it is what we all desire. Respect in someone means accepting them unconditionally and even celebrating their differences. Every day you have an opportunity to show respect to someone different than you, and in doing so, attach to that person true value. You can speak life and hope into them and you may be the only one in their life that will do so. How will U respond?” (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Respect, Volume 3, p.10)

Jerry Traylor

Jerry Traylor’s message is, “It’s not bad to be different.” Jerry has climbed mountains, run 35 marathons, and jogged across America from San Francisco to New York, all on crutches! He says, “I am a mirror. I want people to look at me and see their incredible potential!” Jerry is now a motivational speaker, traveling the country telling his life-changing story, to motivate others to believe in themselves and to let them know that a handicap does not need to hold them back from achieving their dreams.

Jerry was born with Cerebral Palsy. He spent more than a decade in the hospital going from one corrective surgery to the next. Even though Jerry was separated from his family, he always felt their love. After fourteen years of surgeries, Jerry went from not being able to walk, to being free to move with crutches. Even though his crutches allowed him to move around, he struggled for years with comparing himself to others.

Though he was different, Jerry soon realized that he too had a gift. Once he had his crutches, he knew his possibilities were endless. He says, “With these crutches, I’ve run a mile in 9 minutes and 29 seconds. With these crutches, I’ve climbed Pike’s Peak to 14,000 feet, I’ve jumped out of airplanes, and I’ve jogged across America. These crutches are a symbol of my ability. So you and I have to look at what we have regardless of what society thinks.”

Jerry says, “The incredible thing is that in our lives you and I tend to look at what we can’t do. We listen to everyone telling us what we can’t do. Why? Live Life, and love life, and learn! I do love exploring my potential and I do love being a role model for someone who says, ‘I don’t think I could do that.’ None of us are handicapped. We just need to remember that and go for it!”

Osama Shofani

“United States Marine Master Sergeant Shofani and his family moved in late 2001 from one community of California to another. MSgt. Shofani went through the usual routine of getting his utilities turned on at his new home. When he told the operator what he wanted to do, she asked him his name. When he responded, there was an extended pause on the other end. MSgt. Shofani knew the reason. His first name is Osama.

Two months after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Shofani experienced prejudice for the first time in his life, all because he shared a first name with Osama Bin Laden, leader of the Al-Qaeda terrorist group. ‘Osama is a common first name in the Arab culture,’ MSgt. Shofani said. ‘It means Lion. In the Arab culture, you have the Catholic and Muslim religions.’

That MSgt. Shofani had served for more than 15 years in the Marine Corps at the time and had fought in two foreign conflicts, including the first Gulf War, did not help much. ‘In the beginning I was very frustrated,’ he said. ‘I had never faced prejudice. I had heard that it was out there, but I have never believed that it should stand in the way of achieving any goals you want to achieve. I still don’t. So that hit me hard. A year or two later, I started maturing. I decided that I could only educate, not retaliate. I started to ignore some of the things and educate people on the differences. I tried to take the high road.’

MSgt. Shofani was born in Jordan. His family moved to the United States when he was 10 years old. He says his parents taught him and his brother and sisters that it’s important what’s on a person’s inside, not his or her appearance….. MSgt. travels often for the Marines, and to lecture on Arab culture and language to soldiers…. He feels it’s his responsibility now to teach people about respecting others who may seem different. ‘I feel almost like an ambassador between two cultures. First of all as a Marine, teaching the Marines about the culture and sensitivity of that. Helping them understand what they think and why they do things. It’s a great position I’m in now. It’s taught me a lot.’” (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Respect, Volume 3, p.12)

Respect for Authority

“At times it can be a challenge to respect a person in authority. Often, we see authority figures as not respecting those whom they ae in authority over. We don’t feel they respect us. Still, respect comes under the law of ‘sowing and reaping,’ meaning whatever seed you plant is what you will grow. If you give respect to someone else, particularly one in authority, you will get it back in return. When authority figures are worthy of your respect, show them that respect and they will end up building positives into your life and give your respect back. These authority relationships we can grow from and grasp lessons that will last.”  (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Respect, Volume 3, p.13)

Torii Hunter

Torii Hunter was one of the most electrifying players in baseball. He played both center field and right field. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Minnesota Twins, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and Detroit Tigers from 1997 through 2015. Hunter was a five-time All-Star, won nine consecutive Gold Glove Awards as a center fielder, and was a two-time Silver Slugger Award winner. He was known for his jaw-dropping defensive plays. Many say he was the best defensive outfielder in the game during the years which he played.  

“Teammates, coaches, fans and even members of the media have consistently recognized Torii as one of the ‘good guys’ in sports. Not only did he have the natural ability to excel at baseball, but he is a man of great character. He is recognized as a man who demonstrates tremendous respect, both toward the game and toward people of all kinds….

Growing up in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Torii and his family didn’t have very much money or material possessions. In a difficult situation, Torii’s mother made it a priority to instill respect in her children, believing it would take them far.

‘My mother taught us a lot about respect when I was growing up,’ says Torri. ‘She was determined that no matter what we had or didn’t have materially, one thing we would definitely have is respect.’

Much of Torii’s success in life can be traced back to the lessons he learned as a boy. Those who know him well say it is obvious Torii has not forgotten his humble beginnings. He frequently visits his friends and family in Pine Bluff, and helps out there through the Torii Hunter scholarship program which provides college scholarships to high school graduates from Pine Bluff and other parts of the country. Torri has learned that respecting others is the fastest way to earn their respect.” (Heart of a Champion Character Development Program, Respect, Volume 3, p.15)


Think about what it takes to demonstrate the proper respect in your life: for others, for yourself, for those different from you and for authority. I hope that, after reading this month’s article, you know a little more about respect and how you can further develop that attribute to Become The Man God Wants You To Be. Thanks for reading…