Tuesday, March 29, 2005


Main Entry: prog·e·ny
Etymology: Middle English progeny, from Middle French, from Latin progenies, from progignere
b : offspring of animals or plants
3 : a body of followers, disciples, or successors

This is an interesting word that has become more abundantly used around me as of late. I had heard the word progeny before and had a rough self-derived definition based on the context in which I had heard it used. I had never contemplated the concept of progeny. Many circumstances have occurred recently which have caused me to ponder the concept of progeny.

I am at an institution of higher learning which recently has undergone some coaching resignations/firings. During the discussions of the replacements for these coaches some of the candidates have been described as progeny of particular coaches. The progenies are associated with the characteristics of their precessors. This is what started my most recent reflection into the concept of progeny.

I guess I have contemplated a time or two before what type of progeny I am. As I have attended Hall of Fame Banquets at professional meetings, etc. I have heard the accolades of these esteemed professionals and who they would thank for mentoring them into the respected positions they have obtained. My mind will wonder to consider who I would mention should I be fortunate enough to be awarded a similar honor. In those situations I often think of prior teachers and employers, co-workers, colleagues, etc. The people I would pick would be picked due to the investment they made in me. They may have taught me and challenged me. They may have given me a chance when it meant personal risk on their part. It might have been words of encouragement and believing in me when I had been beaten up so much that I lost all confidence in my abilities. This is a fun exercise and frequently causes me to get in touch with these people and catch up on how their life is doing, etc.

This most recent situation with the basketball coaches has challenged me to look at progeny in another light. Now I want to consider what type of progeny am I "creating." I take this very seriously. I have developed a viewpoint of my students as junior colleagues. The reality is that in two or less years they will be professionals in the same field I am in. I want to see them as just that. I wish to see the best in each and every one of them. I would like to think I can help them become more than they can become on their own. I have played with the idea of creating stock certificates with each student's name and picture on it. This visual representation of my investment in these students would be especially helpful at the times when it doesn't seem like you are making a difference.

I am excited to live vicariously through people around me. I recently read a blog by a friend of mine (Relevance) in which he discussed his high school music teacher and the tremendous impact that particular person had on his and other peoples lives, not just their music. I can only pray to have a similar impact on those around me. My students are the easiest examples to share but many other people can fit into this same concept of progeny - my children, my friends, my co-workers, my neighbors.

I really think this ties into an earlier blog I wrote about Love Is the Killer App (which I have now completed). Just like buying stock you have to have something (i.e., money) to buy the stock with; to be able to invest in people you have to have something (e.g., compassion, knowledge, love) to invest in them. I believe that creates value in life is relationships. Time spent investing in relationships is an investment that will pay dividends when all other investments (i.e., worldly) will leave you broke. I believe this is most profoundly demonstrated in the life of Jesus Christ as he came and "invested" all he had in humanity. He didn't do it for fame or wealth. In fact, as the Creator he didn't even need to do it at all. He did it because he wanted to establish an eternal relationship with us. It seems like there are so many people today that think their "dividends" will come from working more, etc. While they let their other investments (e.g., family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, relationship with God) waste away. Perhaps I can play a little part in showing them what a mistake they might be making.

Am I a good progeny?
Am I investing enough in others to be able to claim them as a progeny?

Take care.


Pat Callahan said...

OK... it's time for a new post!

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