Gold medal winning Olympians are currently the focus of worldwide admiration. Almost universally, the champions in each sport focused their attention, sacrificed other aspects of their lives, and lived lives of great self-discipline in order to achieve success. Amongst these champions, David Rudisha of Kenya, the Men’s 800 meter gold medalist and world recordholder, caught my attention. Rudisha, the son of two Kenyan Olympians, attended a small school that has produced numerous world class runners. He also recently became a Maasai warrior, a ceremonial coming-of-age for his ethnic group.
What struck me about Rudisha was the value of traditions and role models in his life and how they seemed to propel him towards the success that he achieved at the Olympics. Rudisha is a gifted athlete who seemingly was born into a situation that fits his unique ability. He’s a part of a tradition and seems destined to become a role model for younger Kenyans and Maasai tribesmen.
If we are to empower families, wouldn’t it make sense to create analogous traditions and role model opportunities within our families?