Here’s to Positive Role Models

While growing up did you have role models in your life who had a profoundly positive effect on you? Perhaps it was a teacher who believed in you and pushed you to strive, a parent of one of your friends who consistently provided encouragement or a coach who modeled great leadership, teaching you to work hard and play fair. I’m fortunate to have had positive role models and mentors in my life who brought out the best in me and I’ve tried to play that role for younger people in my community.

I was reminded about positive role models recently while watching a remarkable television program called Friday Night Lights. I really want to encourage you to check out this award-winning and critically-acclaimed drama. This show is gritty and real.  I don’t want to give away the story but suffice it to say the writing, acting and production of this show are extraordinary, a far cry from many of the vacuous programs on today.  You can rent the first three seasons at your local video store and the fourth season will be broadcast soon on NBC (if you have DirecTV, you can watch the fourth season now on Wednesdays at 9:00 PM Eastern).

While I’m not an avid football fan (and you don’t have to be to enjoy this show), I love this drama for its inspiration, entertainment and the values it promotes. The primary examples of great role models on display are in the characters of coach Eric Taylor and his wife Tami. Eric is the high school football coach in a football-crazy West Texas town that, incidentally, is based on Odessa, Texas, where I worked for Texas instruments in my first job after college.  Tami is a guidance counselor who becomes the high school’s principal in later episodes.   Eric and Tami are both leaders who inspire the kids to achieve excellence in their academic and athletic endeavors, and in their relationships and personal character. The show’s adult and teenage characters face the types of heart-wrenching trials and temptations that we all face in life, whether it’s the sickness or death of a loved one, a friend who needs us during a busy and demanding time in our life, or the lure of doing something we know is wrong for the sake of status or financial gain.

The above video clip includes images from Friday Night Lights set to Coldplay’s song “Fix You.”   The images coupled with the song’s music and lyrics capture the spirit of Friday Night Lights. I hope you’ll check it out. You’ll be glad you did.

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