Thursday, January 19, 2017

#62 Advice to My 15-Year Old Self

Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do. --Pope John XXIII

I'm a real sucker for any Robert Redford movie.  I guess it is the humanity and humility he brings to every character and every story he tells that gets me.  I am rarely as motivated within my own mortality as I am after watching one of his films.

I watched Lions for Lambs again today for about the 10th time, and I was again overwhelmed with emotion by the story and highly inspired by the message.  It is amazing how his political films going back 40+ years for some (see The Candidate) stand the test of time and are still relative and feel like they could have been written and filmed today without much change to story line.  Mr. Redford knows that history consistently repeats itself and his movies are a swift kick in the tookus as a reminder that we just can't help ourselves to put the brakes on when we have a chance to truly make a difference.

Maybe I am too soft or liberal.  Maybe I am just a Peter Pan who refuses to grow up. Maybe I am naive.  Whatever the answer, I simply cannot turn off my passion for wanting to make the world a better place while helping others take stock in their own reality and capabilities.

Robert Redford sure knows how to do that for me.  You might just say that is the sign of a great movie star or film maker, but I think it is the sign of a great human being.

That brings me to the point of today's blog:  If I could go back in time and sit down with my 15-year old self, what advice would I give?

As I look at the big picture of our world, I am also asking myself if I had the chance to go back and time and give advice to a 15-year old Donald Trump or Barack Obama, what advice would I give them?  I've received some very good answers to that question from some of you, and I will give you the shortened version of some of those:


  • Slow down and enjoy the moment
  • Listen to your [parents]
  • Live every day as if it is your last
  • Take advantage of every opportunity
  • Don't chase love, but don't be afraid of it when you find it
  • Be generous in all you do
  • Stand up for yourself and those you love and care about
  • Speak and act with conviction
  • Treat others the way you would want to be treated
  • "Let him without sin be the first to throw a stone..."
If we have the power to instill any of these messages into our children or any child, I believe that we are helping make the world a better place.  The problem is that these messages have become cliche.  We treat them like something we passed by on a bumper sticker giving it 5 seconds of thought and then moving on to the next thing we see.  How often do any of us sit our children down or our teams or our classrooms and not only express one of these themes, but talk about how we could put action to the words.  How do we practice what we preach?

For most of my young adult life, older teachers, coaches, etc. would often tell me that my passion would subside as I got older...that I would gain perspective, and I would not be so quick to fight for justice and righteousness.

I've been married for 19 years.  I am working on my third mortgage.  I have had a dozen different jobs with 6 different institutions and companies.  I have lost great friends, mentors and family members.  I am raising two children.  I've had to worry where my next paycheck would come from and how I would support my family.

Yet after all of this and a thousand other experiences, I am still disappointed in our world and in myself when we don't speak up and fight for what is right...when we don't stand up and fight for our dreams and our goals.  I still can't get on the phone with a family or watch a kid at a practice and say "Those people need my help, but they will be alright if I don't help them or if I don't give them my best."  I just don't have it in me to give less of what I am capable of.  And, I still get extremely depressed and disappointed when I fail in giving my best to anyone.

So, what would I say to a young Matt Rogers or a young Donald Trump or a young Barack Obama?

"Give them the truth.  Give them your best.  If they don't like you or don't like what you have to say, keep being true to yourself.  When you have a chance to do something good, don't sit on the sidelines and wait for your number to be called.  Take advantage of every situation to do good and don't ever let anyone tell you that you are trying too hard or are too passionate about what you believe in."

This one was for Adam - I love you, buddy!  Thanks for the great conversation yesterday.  No matter what I say, you continue to impress me in every way!



Coach Matt Rogers
Twitter:  @madcoachdiary
Email:  coachrogers12@gmail.com
Linkedin:  www.linkedin.com/in/rogersmatt16
Blog:  madcoachdiary.blogspot.com
Phone:  (312) 610-6045

Matt Rogers is a 20-year high school and college coach veteran.  He has led two teams to the NCAA National Tournament and one team to a High School State Championship.  His teams hold numerous school and one NCAA record. He has mentored and coached players at every level while serving as an athletics administrator at the high school and NCAA levels. He has helped numerous players continue their careers at the professional level. He currently is the Head National Scout/Recruiting Specialist for NCSA - Next College Student Athlete where he has helped thousands of young men and women from around the world achieve their dreams of playing at the college level.  Coach presently lives in the Denver, CO area with his wife of 19 years and his two children. 

To request Coach Rogers to speak at your school or event, you can reach him through any of his contact information above.