Lesson that taught Robbie Gould to stay on course
By ROBBIE GOULD Daily Splash columnist September 28, 2012 2:14AM
Robbie Gould in action | Photo courtesy of Chicago Bears
Updated: October 29, 2012 6:34AM
Lock Haven is a small town in Pennsylvania — so small that at eleven years old, I had my own mother as a teacher. After hearing the news, I immediately wondered how many of my friends would be jealous that our teacher already had a “class favorite,” even before the school year had begun. That dream ended quickly when I forgot my first homework assignment.
At first, I thought my mom would go easy on me. That was not the case. Just as any other student would be punished for a missing assignment, she sent a letter home to my dad with a sternly written explanation of her discipline process. “This is just for show,” I assumed, and when we got home, I gleefully asked her to sign the so-called shameful note. To my dismay, she refused to sign-off on her own letter. She forced me to explain the situation to my father, just as any other student would be required to do in her classroom. From that day forward, none of my peers considered me any different from the rest; in fact, they all felt badly for me that my mom was so tough!
Although I was embarrassed at the time, I never forgot another homework assignment that year. It seems silly, but my parents’ demanding expectations throughout my years of education prepared me for adulthood. They taught me that work must be completed before play, which included the many extracurricular activities and sports in which I was fortunate enough to be involved — and which led to my career as a Chicago Bears kicker. Continually emphasizing the importance of receiving good grades to get into college — so that I’d be prepared to obtain a job later in life — was something that my parents did every day.
Last year, I began fulfilling my goal to “pay it forward” in the Chicago area by launching my first public charity, The Goulden Touch. The mission of this charity is to place a strong emphasis on the importance of education — as strong as the one my mother placed on me. With the help of many dedicated volunteers, I am able to empower young students who learn the significance of staying in school, being involved in extracurricular activities and remaining focused on reaching their graduation.
To this day, I believe in the power of strong work ethic to be successful. And if we should happen to slip, sometimes we just need a little note sent home to remind us to get back on track.
Robbie Gould donated his fee for writing this column to his organization, Goulden Touch, gouldentouch.org.