your powerful echo
Last Monday night, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees broke one of the most prolific records in NFL history when he passed Peyton Manning for most career passing yards. It was an amazing feat for any player to achieve, but probably all the more special for Brees, whose life as a quarterback has been filled with challenges. He was mostly overlooked and unrecruited as a high school player out of Westlake, Texas; he was deemed too small to have lasting success as a pro when teams considered drafting him out of Purdue; and he was thought to be washed up as a player when he seriously injured his shoulder back in 2006. It’s been no easy road to the top for Drew Brees.
The long touchdown pass Brees completed to mark his place in history was impressive, but I don’t want your focus to be on his football ability today. Instead, I want you to see what Drew Brees chose to do and say immediately after he broke the record. Of course, the game was stopped and Brees was mobbed by teammates, while 80 thousand Saints fans cheered alongside. Brees thanked that crowd and those teammates. He hugged his coach and kissed his wife. Then, right there near mid-field, with all of New Orleans and much of America watching, he knelt down and pulled his three young sons close. His words to them were simple but powerful. Watch this 40 second clip:
This was arguably the biggest individual moment of Drew Brees’ career. Everyone was focused on celebrating him and his accomplishment. And yet, in that moment, what did Drew Brees, the father, make the decision to do? He decided to teach. “You can accomplish anything in life,” he said as he hugged his boys, “if you’re willing to work for it.” He had the chance – and probably the right – in that moment to make it all about himself. Instead, he recognized that that moment was a perfect opportunity to connect some important dots for his boys. To clarify for them a meaningful lesson he’s learned in his life. To further instill in them the mindset of a champion.
When a reporter asked Brees after the game if he remembers what he told his kids after breaking the record, he said, “Probably what I tell them every night before they go to bed. You can accomplish anything in life if you’re willing to work for it. Nothing is given. Everything is earned.”
I have no idea who Drew Brees’ kids will grow up to be. I doubt Drew Brees knows for sure, either. But I would wager to say that because of the intentional priority he's made it, they will always hear the powerful echo of their father’s voice. Repeatedly delivering this message of success and hope and life – and then living it out for his kids to see – will influence them forever. It seems this dad recognizes the great responsibility and the great opportunity he has to shape the way his kids see the world and the challenges they’ll inevitably face. Drew Brees has been overlooked and underestimated most of his football life. No one would have predicted that he would hold one (and soon, more) of the NFL’s most prestigious records when he came into the league. He’s living proof that you can indeed accomplish anything in life if you’re willing to work for it. What success is possible out there for the kid who’s come to this same important realization? Drew Brees, the champion father, seems determined to find out.
Repeatedly delivering this message of success and hope and life – and then living it out for his kids to see – will influence them forever.
I hope you’ll be challenged and encouraged by Drew Brees’ example. I have to imagine that there are many obligations and commitments pulling at one of pro football’s best players every day, just as I can assume you’ve got plenty pulling at you, too. But like Drew Brees, I hope you’ll do what you can to help create a powerful echo of your own, one that your kids will be hearing in their hearts, minds, and lives forever. What opportunities exist for you to connect some important dots for them today? To clarify for them a meaningful lesson you’ve learned in your life? To further instill in them the mindset of a champion? You may not be mic’d up on national TV, just after rifling a record-breaking touchdown pass on Monday Night Football when you do it, but I’d bet your message – one of success and hope and life – will resonate with them forever, and very likely end up on the highlight reel of your accomplishments someday, too.
Need a laugh today? Check out this video Peyton Manning made congratulating Drew Brees on breaking his passing yardage record.
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