Move beyond complaints to action
This week I noticed something that went largely under the radar, but I found it to be a significant statement and an example of a person with influence acting and moving beyond complaints and protests. A surprisingly divisive figure on the basketball court, LeBron James has stood out as one who is a change agent by his actions more than his words off the court. Despite coming from undesirable and unfavorable conditions growing up, someone instilled some values in him that seem to have stayed with him along the journey to superstardom. He exhibited loyalty and gratitude to his high school friends by positioning several of them into very lucrative careers when he obviously did not have to. His core group of friends was launched into successful careers in marketing, sports agency and other fields because their friend remembered them when he achieved financial success.
He also married his high school sweetheart and seems to be putting family as a high priority in his life. His children are raised in a home with a strong father and family values. All this from a young man who grew up with every excuse available to be a failure or to fritter away his success on drugs and unsavory lifestyles. This week he fulfilled a promise to open a school designed to impact young people from his background, the I Promise School. He personally funded the school and helped to craft it into a school where young persons who grew up like him would have a chance to excel. He personally guaranteed that anyone who graduated successfully would not have to worry about college tuition among several other notable benefits. He installed a food pantry that any of the parents could take advantage of if they fell on hard times and the list goes on.
What is remarkable about this story is that there are many athletes who complain and protest and in many cases, rightfully so, but they fail to move beyond the complaint and protest phase and actually develop a plan that could produce real change. Lebron James has a plan and the plan is to eliminate barriers he faced from the lives of others like him and to provide an environment where young people can thrive. All men are created equal but not all men have equal opportunity or resources. Not all men have equal environments and exposure to the same thinking. Lebron James actually put his plan into action and the future benefits I believe will be phenomenal in uplifting a community and city that is in many ways destined for failure.
So, what does this have to do with The Bahamas? Change agents produce change and LeBron James has set the example for not only Americans, but change agents worldwide. In The Bahamas we hear complaints daily, but how many are actually implementing solutions in their communities or environments to bring about change. I can think of some examples like Eric Fox of Teen Challenge, the Freedom Farm Baseball League, Landlord and the Second Chance Program and many others. While many such programs exist, there is still a lot of room for more, and there are many who are on the sidelines complaining while they are in a position to produce change. Are you one of those persons who complain daily but has the resources or contacts to produce change but fail to act? If you are, it is time to move beyond complaints and protests, to action that benefits the persons you have identified as being underserved.
If you have resources available to you, if you have a national platform, if you have partners who can help, why not lead the way by developing concrete plans to implement something in your environment that will lead to a better life for those who are less fortunate? I believe others with fame, resources and access should follow the lead of LeBron James and become change agents rather than just “babblers”.
• Pastor Dave Burrows is senior pastor at Bahamas Faith Ministries International. Feel free to email comments, whether you agree or disagree, to firstname.lastname@example.org. I appreciate your input and dialogue. We become better when we discuss, examine and exchange.