Guest Post: Delisha Milton-Jones on Gratitude
The WNBA All-Star talks about the importance of giving back.
By Delisha Milton-Jones / @DelishaMJones
Thank you all for the wonderful comments and feedback I received from my first blog for SLAMonline. This is truly an exciting endeavor for me and I look forward to your continued input. I’m hoping that through this experience you will gain a clearer perspective as to who I am as a person through my written words. Thanks again from the bottom of my heart.
With Easter coming up this Sunday, I felt it fitting to write about gratitude. Now, if you follow me on twitter, you would know that I’m an avid fan of Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory. I’m in total awe of Rob and his way of passionately living life to the fullest and showing his gratitude by finding ways to help other people’s dreams come true. Every single time I watch his show I’m crying from either intense laughter or from being sincerely touched by his passion for unleashing the inner child inside us all.
As athletes with impressionable youth idolizing us, I’m challenging us to show our gratitude towards the lives we lead by giving something that is more valuable than a pair of shoes, money, autographs or anything of material value. Your time is so much more important than any of those things. Take off your headphones, put down your iPad, iPod, iPhone, Androids and Blackberry’s and enrich someone’s life with your presence. You just might enrich your own in the process.
I’m in no way chastising/coming down on my fellow professional athletes; I’m just signaling a flag of caution towards the growing epidemic that we (as professional athletes, men and women) are a part of. Whether we like it or not, people follow our every action. The success of our future world lies in our hands. What are we going to leave for the generations to come?
There have been too many instances I’ve encountered where I’ve met a young adult who approaches life with an attitude of “I want everything and the world owes me.” Huh? What happened to the mindset of sacrificing and working diligently to get what you want? We can no longer survive by wanting to get rich quick. It would be fantastic if doing things with quality and substance became more attractive to the world; things like working for months, years or decades to earn what we want, or a home-made meal instead of fast food, or a quality relationship rather than one-night-stands. The journey is definitely more enjoyable and rewarding when a certain amount of time and commitment is put into it.
Experience has and always will be the best teacher.
There are numerous examples of professional athletes in the world who are giving youth other examples of success besides playing a sport. Players like Tina Thompson, Asjha Jones and Jalen Rose immediately come to mind. I’m proud of the work many current and former players are doing for their respective communities. They don’t do it because it’s mandated; they do it because they care. They go above and beyond the call of duty by doing what their heart leads them to do. No strings attached, no media ploys, no checks involved – simply straight from the heart.
So, whether you’re a weekend-warrior, current or former athlete, or an everyday blue-collar/white-collar worker, let’s do more. Our youth are depending on us and they desperately need our help and guidance. Take a moment out of your busy schedules to pay it forward through your gift of gratitude. How often do we read about a very touching story or see a program on television that demonstrates the lengths people will go to show their gratitude towards a perfect stranger and we subsequently wonder to ourselves why we haven’t done something as fulfilling as that? Well, now is our chance to take action. Whether it’s at the local recreation center or in your very own neighborhood, give a little attention and time to our youth.
My former coach, Michael Cooper, always would say to his team, “Winning and Losing are both contagious.” In my opinion, so is giving back, sudden acts of kindness, smiles, frowns, or selfishness. To me, a smile is the equivalent of doing the wave in an arena; sooner or later that one guy that doesn’t want to join in will eventually realize how bad he looks and join the party.
In closing, paying it forward has a way of coming back full circle!!!
God Bless Always,