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Issue 539 - "Building Trust." (Booker T. Washington Part Twenty)

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 11 Issue 539
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



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.
Booker T. Washington was trusted by all classes of people because whoever his audience was, he told the truth. Trust starts with the truth. We should teach the importance of saying "I don’t know." when asked a question we don’t know the answer to as opposed to a half-baked antidotal response based on something from the internet.
In his 1902 book, Character Building, Mr. Washington describes how he taught this critical skill to the future teachers he was educating:
"All teachers make mistakes sometimes, and you may depend upon it that it is an excellent teacher and a person of fine character who, when he or she has made a mistake, says frankly and plainly, "I have made a mistake," or "I don’t know."
It takes a very good and a very bright teacher to say, "I don’t know." No teacher knows everything about every subject. A good teacher will say frankly and clearly, "I don’t know. I cannot answer that question."
Let me tell you, right here, too, that when you go out from here to become teachers yourselves as a large proportion of you will go—whenever you get to a point where a student asks you a question which you are not able to answer, or asks you something about a subject on which you are not well informed, you will find it better to say frankly and honestly," I am unable to answer your question. "Your students will respect you a great deal more for your frankness and honesty."
Education is not what a person is able to hold in his head, so much as it is what a person is able to find. I believe it was Daniel Webster who said that the truly educated person was not the one who had all knowledge in their head, but the one who knew where to look for information upon any subject upon which at any time he or she might want information."
Do you give answers of convenience or say, "I don’t know" and build trust by then finding the correct answer?

Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman




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Application Exercise



Thoughts Of A Soldier

Since men with life must purchase life
And some must die that more may live,
Unto the Great Cashier of strife
A fine accounting let me give.
Perhaps to-morrow I shall stand
Before his cage, prepared to buy
New splendor for my native land:
Oh, God, then bravely let me die!

If after I shall fall, shall rise
A fairer land than I have known,
I shall not grudge my sacrifice,
Although I pay the price alone.
If still more beautiful to see
The Stars and Stripes o'er men shall wave
And finer shall my country be,
To-morrow let me find my grave.

To-night life seems so fair and sweet,
Yet tyranny is stalking here,
And hate and lust and foul deceit
Hang heavy on the atmosphere.
Injustice seeks to throttle right,
And laughter's stifled to a sigh.
If death can take so great a blight
From human lives, then let me die.

If death must be the cost of life,
And freedom's terms are human souls,
Into the thickest of the strife
Then let me go to pay the tolls.
I would enrich my native land,
New splendor to her flag I'd give,
If where I fall shall freedom stand,
And where I die shall freedom live.

To-morrow death with me may trade;
Let me not quibble o'er the price;
But may I, once the bargain's made,
With courage meet the sacrifice.
If happiness for ages long
My little term of life can buy,
God, for my country make me strong;
To-morrow let me bravely die.

Edgar Albert Guest (1881-1959)






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