I may choose to ignore people who comment anonymously. I choose never to be anonymous online myself. I have little tolerance for this behavior.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Power Used Properly: Deuce Lutui

An extensive Mormon Times article tells the intriguing story of Deuce Lutui. Lutui is Tongan and joined the Church while here in the States.

His story is fascinating on many levels. I'm going to focus on only one. In "Deuce Lutui is a warrior for his team, family and faith" in Mormon Times it states how Lutui used his status as an NFL football player to attract attention to the Church and the Mesa pageant in particular.

A few months before his second year in the league in 2007, Lutui approached organizers of the annual Mesa Arizona Easter Pageant and offered his acting skills. He had attended the pageant as a boy and had always dreamed of playing the role of a Roman soldier. It turned out they needed one more soldier. Pageant director Nanci Wudel made Lutui promise he would use his celebrity status to help promote the pageant.
It was a deal, Lutui agreed.
"I thought it was a good opportunity to do some missionary work," he said.
When word leaked that the massive NFL lineman was on the cast, the news media swarmed to report the story. Lutui only granted interviews, however, if reporters went with him on a guided tour of the Mesa Temple visitors' center. The interview typically concluded with Lutui's testimony of the gospel. He invited his coaches and teammates to attend the pageant and offered to visit with young men from local wards and stakes after each rehearsal.

We hear a lot about how power can be abused and very little about how it can be used properly. This is an example of using it properly.

Instead of using his popularity to enrich himself or his status in some way, or even feed his ego, Lutui used his to assist the Church, build good public relations and increase understanding of the gospel. He could do this because he is a public figure.

As a professor, I realized that I had leverage with my students that even their parents didn't have. If parents told their kids they were smart, the kids blew them off. If I told the kids they were smart, they believed me.

For this reason I looked for opportunities to bestow praise. If I said it rather than just thought it to myself, it could have a positive impact. I was careful to make sure the praise was warranted though.

People I knew who applied for university jobs asked if they could list me as a reference. I generally said, "yes" because I knew the university probably wouldn't contact me but the people felt more confident having someone with the title "Ph.D." or "professor" endorsing them.

Naturally, the opposite of this is all true. I could do a lot of damage with my position and title. Deuce Lutui could do the Church a lot of damage with his.

Think of your own life. What power do you have? How can you use it properly? How can you use it righteously?

It is worth thinking about, and rethinking about.

No comments:

Post a Comment