Sunday Extra: Committed to bettering myself

Sunday Extra: Committed to bettering myself


My father passed away 33 years ago on Dec. 18. Memories of him continue to fade, but his influence remains in his second son.

Dad's first career was in high school education, and he had coaching in his blood lines. His cousin was Johnny Wooden's basketball coach at Martinsville High School, and Dad had successful coaching years at Potomac (1920-36) and Williamsville (1936-41) before serving as principal in Wellington (1941-49) and as Unity's first high school principal (1949-53).

It has always been gratifying when his former students, players and managers have expressed their fond recollections of my father's teaching, coaching and even his discipline. There are even a few today who will remark that their parents thought of Dad as their favorite teacher.

He entered his second career of insurance service and sales after his retirement from education. I joined this world that same year and witnessed and eventually partnered with Dad in his work. His work ethic was "old school," even in that second career, and he demanded no less out of his son. Mankind was his business, in agreement with Mr. Marley. He was generous, sometimes to a fault, which rose from his upbringing in a humble household of 10 kids and from his Depression experience. He appreciated the wealth that he had and covertly shared it with others who needed a hand up.

Both of my parents were wonderful examples with their Christian faith and their community involvement. Dad remained connected to education by serving on the local school board for many years and was a charter member of the Potomac Lions Club.

We are about to roll into a new year. I have never embraced the tradition of resolutions well, and I am an imperfect student of my father's instruction and examples, but I continue to realize how valuable his influences and that of many, many others have been to me. It remains a privilege to stand on the shoulders of friends and family and to try to follow the paths that they have laid and led.

With that, my commitment for 2018 and any additional years left to me, is to better myself as a teacher, coach, mentor, leader and friend.

Please join me in that goal, and by succeeding, we just might make our communities, our state, our nation and our world a bit better for those who follow.

John C. Alexander is the resource director for YMCA of the USA.