As we approach the season of giving thanks, I find myself reflecting on all the things for which I am grateful. It’s important for all of us to think about the things we appreciate, earned and unearned. It’s easy to focus on the things that disappoint us, but our happiness is linked to the good we can find in our lives and all around us.
I am grateful for the challenges and opportunities that have helped me become the man I am today. When I spend time with families, educators and community leaders, our conversations frequently devolve into frustration and a lack of hope. I can relate because my journey to manhood was far from a fairy tale.
I am a grateful for the migrant work that provided resources for many of my family members. I am thankful for the government assistance my family received to make sure we had health care, food and a roof over our heads. I appreciate the parents, educators and mentors in my life who saw the best in me. They taught me everything from calculus to football, but most importantly, they taught me how to be a good neighbor and a great friend. I did not grow up with a father in our household, but I was fortunate to have a community of surrogate moms and dads.
I am grateful for the opportunity to follow my calling and pay it forward. Two years at the Wilmington Friends School and twenty-four years of teaching, coaching, and mentoring young men at the McCallie School have taught me countless lessons. I offer thanks to my former students and their parents.
I am grateful for McCallie’s vision to establish the National Center for the Development of Boys. I was honored to serve as an Associate Headmaster at McCallie, but my role as Executive Director of the NCDB allows me to serve a larger community. Boys are trending down in America, but there is hope. Schools, parents, and community leaders are working together to change the trajectory of young men.
With the help Dr. Michael Gurian and the Gurian Institute (GI) the NCDB is poised to be a leader in the national conversation about helping boys thrive in America. We are building the “Dream Team” of partners to organize and deliver outstanding resources and the most comprehensive network you can find. Stay tuned for the unveiling of our strategic plan. You can like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to learn more.
What are you grateful for? As you think of the things that trouble you, I encourage you to focus on the things that are going well in your life. I invite you begin your positivity campaign by taking the daily 5-3-1 approach.
· Take 5 minutes to meditate.
· Think of 3 things for which you are grateful.
· Perform 1 act of kindness for a stranger.
We are excited to partner with you to change the lives of boys in your community. Please contact me or any member of my team to if you would like to schedule an event or have a conversation in your community.
Troy F. Kemp