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“Show me your friends, I’ll show you your future”

Posted on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 8:24 am

This was a quote from a news release stated by Aaron Davis, wide receiver for the University of Nebraska’s 1994 NCAA Division 1-A championship team. “Be careful who you chill with,” he added.

Davis was the keynote speaker at the closing ceremony of the recent State 4-H Congress in Columbia. He is now a motivational speaker and author of the self-help book “10 Minute Truths.”

He is the second professional athlete brought to my attention this year. The first was Chad Varga, former pro basketball player who turned down a huge contract as it no longer felt right. Davis’ future was bright in 1994 when he helped the Nebraska Cornhuskers on their path to victory. However, influenced by “friends” and falling victim to drugs and alcohol, he quit the team and school after his grade point average fell below 2.0.

Summer’s freedom often leads teens into temptations that compromise their values, he said, and each summer he worries about the choices youth will make.

“It’s easy to compromise a little bit here and there,” he said. That’s when trouble begins. “It’s not if it’s going to catch up with you. It’s when.”

How often do you look around at not only youth but adults who ‘hang’ with seemingly the wrong crowd. You never stop worrying about those you care so much for.

Davis said personal experience taught him how a little compromise can lead to a lot of heartache. He says he fell away from the faith and principles taught to him by his father, a man with a ninth-grade education who inspired all of his children to earn college degrees.

Now a husband and father himself, he warns teens against dismissing the wisdom and experience of their parents. “Those people who love you know the lay of the land better,” he said. Davis said he encourages discipline and respect in his home. “There are no iPhones or iPads at the dinner table. It’s just eyeballs,” he said, “and parents are not your friends; they are parents.” he said.

Davis also advised 4-H’ers to limit their Facebook postings. “Be careful about what you post,” he said. He cautioned 4-H’ers that prospective employers and college admissions counselors review social media sites. “Don’t allow something you did for a few seconds affect you all of your life.”

Haven’t we all heard that we should be parents? In response to social media, people don’t think before they post, use language or hurl accusations. People should be able to get their message across without resorting to profanity.

Our world needs a few more motivational speakers like Davis and Varga, not only for youth but us adults as well.

By Bob Simmons