|Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 11
|Craig Impelman Speaking | Championship Coaches | Champion's Leadership Library Login
COACH THE HEAD, HEART AND THE HANDS! (BOOKER T. WASHINGTON PART NINE)
John Wooden Video Clip (98 sec.): Coach Wooden great clip on Team Spirit! Are you just willing or are you eager?
Booker T. Washington was an American educator, author, orator, and adviser to several presidents of the United States. Between 1890 and 1915, he was the dominant leader of American educational innovation and reform.
At the age of fourteen he took a job as a servant in the home of Mrs. Viola Ruffner who had a reputation for being too strict. Mr. Washington, however, flourished with her guidance. In his 1901 autobiography, Up From Slavery, he described her influence:
"I understood she wanted everything kept clean about her, wanted things done promptly and systematically, and that at the bottom of everything she wanted absolute honesty and frankness. I have said more than once before that the lessons that I learned in the home of Mrs. Ruffner were as valuable to me as any education I have ever gotten anywhere else."
Two years later, having made the 500-mile trip from his hometown of Malden, he arrived in Hampton, Virginia where he hoped to enroll at the Hampton Institute.
"I presented myself before the head teacher for an assignment to a class. She did not refuse to admit me, neither did she decide in my favor. After some hours had passed, the head teacher said to me: "The adjoining recitation-room needs sweeping. Take the broom and sweep it."
It occurred to me at once that here was my chance. Never did I receive an order with more delight. I knew that I could sweep, for Mrs. Ruffner had taught me how to do that.
I swept the recitation-room three times. Then I got a dusting-cloth and dusted it four times. All the woodwork around the walls, every bench, table, and desk, I went over four times with my dusting-cloth. Besides, every piece of furniture had been moved and every closet and corner in the room had been thoroughly cleaned.
When I was through, I reported to the head teacher. She went into the room and inspected the floor and closets; then she took her handkerchief and rubbed it on the woodwork about the walls, and over the table and benches. When she was unable to find one bit of dirt on the floor, or a particle of dust on any of the furniture, she quietly remarked, "I guess you will do to enter this institution."
Years later Mr. Washington wrote: "No one can prosper until they learn that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem."
What do you take pride in?
Yours in Coaching,
The Road Builder
I do not care for garments fine,
Edgar Albert Guest (1881-1959)
For more information visit www.woodenswisdom.com
Email a Friend
Return to Issue List