by Dr. Elvage G. Murphy
Elvage has been an active volunteer coach, with The First Tee of Coastal Carolinas since 2016, earning Level 1 Coach Certification in 2017. Prior to that, he and his wife Janelle, started, implemented and funded, Shoot Above Par, a DRIVE program with The First Tee in Erie, PA.
In my time as an educator I have observed that children, no matter their race, socio-economic status, and intellectual abilities, do not exhibit the simplest courtesies. For example, as they move about the school rarely do they say “excuse me.” In fact, I have been forced to get out of the way of students who would likely walk right over me if I did not step aside, stop and redirect them. Many rarely say, “thank you” when extended a privilege, “please” when asking for permission, “good morning”, “good afternoon” or “good-bye.” More care and respect is shown to their mobile devices (e.g. cell phones) than to the school and people within it. The priorities and values of children are often mystifying. However, the needs of children have not changed. Children need attention, affirmation, and validation. In order for children to be positively influenced, adults entrusted with their education must be committed to establish relationships with students, exemplify positive attributes, show unconditional love, impart encouragement and impose discipline when circumstances warrant.
Much to my chagrin the lessons taught and examples set by me and my colleagues will not always be reinforced outside of school in the households of our students. The differences in family structure, long work hours and responsibilities of some parents, grandparents or guardians and a wide variety of other reasons make it extremely challenging for them to positively influence the lives of these children. Children and their families are in need of viable options that help expose their children to engagement that empowers their children with transformational life skills that teach and exemplify honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, responsibility, confidence, perseverance, judgment and courtesy to their lives.
Simply, children who do not exemplify these values cannot be expected to do so without having these values introduced, modeled and reinforced by caring adults. A child’s family and home can never be replaced as the best and most appropriate venue to equip children with values that can make them successful. Nonetheless, The First Tee of Coastal Carolinas remains properly positioned with its programming and personnel to equip our children with the values they need to become the very best of themselves.