From my weekly article at WorldMag.com:
|photo credit: Matt_Velazquez via photopin cc|
I collected rocks when I was a kid. I had a pretty good collection of agates and quartzes and even some rare crystals. One of my favorite places to look was in the decorative rock bed by the entry to my elementary school. As I was kicking through it one day, though, a teacher saw me and asked me to stop. “Why?” I asked. “It’s just one little rock.” In the moment I’m sure she was just considering school property, but her response taught me a bigger lesson: “Imagine if everyone at this school took one rock home each day. How long would it be before all you saw was ugly dirt?”
This encounter came to mind recently as I kept up with the story of Johnny Manziel, the celebrated and scintillating Heisman Trophy-winning sophomore quarterback for Texas A&M University. He is praised for his mad dashes through defenses and his clutch play. He is also getting himself into a heap of trouble. During his brief time in college, Manziel has been arrested for a bar fight, embroiled himself in Twitter controversies, brought criticism on himself for excessive partying, and been a heavy drinker.
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What will Johnny Manziel be like at 30, the age I am now? Will he mature and learn from his mistakes, or will he become embittered with arrested development because of the trauma of society’s nastiness? Will we let him move on, or will we forever label him a fool? While we cannot yet answer these questions, we do know this: Until we put down our little stones, we are only contributing to his misery and possibly to a broken future.
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