When my friend EmmyMom shared this article on Facebook, I instantly loved it. It is profound and passionate. I loved the message it carried and shared it with my kids that morning as they were eating breakfast. I knew I had found my hero for the week.
What I really love about it, is that a man sees a problem and also how he can help. He is not saying, "Someone should do something about that." HE is doing something about it- and not just talking. He also knows what life is really about- living a good and useful life, not getting fame and money.
Jabari Parker is the author of the article and he grew up in the dangerous South side of Chicago. He learned to duck, and then run whenever he heard gunshots. His family and faith are very important to him, and he places them at the center of his life. He is a very humble, down to earth, happy person.
He's just an all around great guy. When he was in high school, he attended a Bible study class regularly. In order to stay safe and out of trouble, he played basketball in his church gym-sometimes all night. (He got pretty good.)
But Chicago is getting worse- the high amount of gun violence especially, makes him sad. He wants kids growing up there to know that there are lots of paths in life, that they have options. The article is a sobering piece that helps the rest of us understand what it is like growing up there, the danger and the lack of vision that keeps kids in a cycle of poverty and violence. Please read it here.
His goal in life is to help the kids of Chicago. He learned very early in life how important it is to have an education, to believe that you can be whatever you want to be, and to be able to have good, clean fun with mentors that you can see, touch and learn from, not just some person far away in an ivory tower. So Jabari has decided that even though he has made it out of Chicago, he will follow the footsteps of his father and return, dedicating his life to those kids. He will not just count his blessing that he got out of there, but he will risk drive by shootings and other violence to teach kids and help them change Chicago from the inside out. To me, that is very heroic.
Oh, you might recognize Jabari a little bit better in this picture- as a well respected NBA player for the Milwaukee Bucks. He was the 2nd pick of the draft in 2014, , was featured on Sports Illustrated, played for Duke University...the list goes on and on. His professional achievements are spectacular (and you can read about them here and here), but it's his heart that that gains my respect the most. He's not a hero because he is in the NBA. But he is a hero because he really cares about people and is using his resources to help them. That is what heros do.
This quick video will help you get to know Jabari better.
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