|Chicago Bears player Eric Peterson speaks to LTP boys at Marian Catholic High.|
April 7, 2010. Flossmoor, IL. Being a positive leader is
no easy task for today’s young men. Negative peer pressure
is an omnipresent reality, and it is often easier to
follow the crowd than to do the right thing or
even just to be oneself.
That is why the Leadership
Training Program (LTP) is working hard to give boys older role
models to inspire and guide them on their path. Every
year, a select group of high school students serve as
mentors for younger boys and lead weekly activities designed to
strengthen the boys’ leadership skills.
“The heart of the program
is leaders forming leaders, and its pillars are public speaking,
teamwork, virtue formation, and sports,” said Fr Jacob DuMont, LC,
who works with young men in the Chicago area.
in 1997 in Bethesda, Maryland, LTP has been active at
Marian Catholic High School in Flossmoor, Illinois, for the past
5 years. This year, 15 high school students served as
mentors for 60 boys in 5th through 8th grade, guided
by two dads, Dennis Cortes and Bob Grossi, who organize
and run the program.
Eric Peterman on leadership in God’s plan
March 28, the LTP at Marian Catholic High took the
idea of “leaders forming leaders” a step further, inviting Chicago
Bears athlete and Northwestern University graduate Eric Peterman to speak
to the mentors and the boys about his faith.
his talk, Peterman gave a quick survey of his own
personal story. After graduating from Northwestern University, he was drafted
by the Chicago Bears, but then was cut just before
the season began. This year, he is again training with
the Chicago Bears, and if all goes as planned, will
play as a wide receiver in the upcoming season.
|Peterson spoke to the LTP boys about faith, perseverance in reaching their goals, and leadership.|
you reality checks, Peterman told the boys, commenting that getting
cut from the Bears at the last minute made him realize
that he had left God on the sidelines of his
life. Since then, he said, he has done his best
to put God back at the center.
He also told the
boys about his own work as the executive director of
the Beyond Sports Foundation, which
is a program that provides social, academic, and athletic support
to athletically gifted, underprivileged student-athletes so that they can pursue
a college education. In his talk, Peterson commented on the
personal rewards of mentoring high school students in the program.
the end, it’s not the years of your life that
count. It’s the life in your years,” he said, quoting
Abraham Lincoln. He urged the boys to remember that life
is short, that we only walk the Earth once, and
that what we do here counts.
While encouraging the boys
to set high goals and work toward them with perseverance
and sacrifice, he also reminded them that the journey is
even more important than the end result, and that the
process matters more than the product. The goal is not
just to become a great football player, but to become
a better person, following the example of Jesus Christ.
all, it was a message that fit perfectly with the
goals and ideals of the Leadership Training Program. In the
end, as Peterson said, true leadership is not just a
set of skills or a finely honed talent. True leadership
is following Christ.
Learn more about the Leadership Training Program
at this link.