Life is all about second chances. Maybe this kind of plays into the whole failure is another word for opportunity thing, but I was sent a reminder of the importance of giving people second chances – and accepting them when they come your way – yesterday.
For three semesters I had the pleasure (for lack of a better word) of serving as new member educator for my fraternity. Developing new members and integrating them into the fraternity can be quite the challenge – especially when they want to do everything but grow and develop. The interesting part is that I probably learned as much, if not more, from the new members as they learned from me in three semesters combined.
One lesson that I am still learning is that new members will not always be the same person that they are when they walk in the door of your fraternity house. They grow up. They establish goals. They blaze a path for themselves and others. Do all of them? Well, I don’t know – my guess is eventually, yes, all of them. (My guess is this applies in many contexts out in the real world too – I guess I’ll see when I get out there and I’m the wide-eyed new guy walking in the door again.)
There was one young man during my last semester as new member educator who I just could not bring myself to see eye to eye with. I gave him very little respect during his pledgeship, and he returned the favor. Quite simply, we didn’t get along.
That man’s name is James Collins. James is now the vice president of a prominent business fraternity on campus, a member of the Leonard Leadership Scholars Program, and a key member of the club rugby team. We don’t share all of the same interests, but we do have plenty in common. And he’s doing big things.
Most importantly, he’s giving me a second chance to be a part of his life. To watch him grow and hear it directly from him instead of through others. I am excited. I had lunch with James yesterday, and I must say, he’s not the new member that I couldn’t bring myself to give the time of day.
James could just as easily have blown me off yesterday and told me I lost my chance – but he didn’t. We sat down over food and talked about life and goals and how we can help each other get to where we’re going. That’s ‘brotherhood’ in fraternity terms. It’s growing up and being willing to accept a second chance in life terms.
Accept those second chances when they come your way. Embrace them. And if you get a chance, be open to granting a chance or two to others. You never know what might come out of it.