Character Counts – A Lesson From Tim Tebow

December 2, 2011

Laugh if you want - but then ask yourself how that reflects upon your character

I will be honest – I am a recent convert to liking, believing, and rooting for Tim Tebow; not because of his current surprising success as the new QB for the Broncos, but because I have learned more about who he is and what Tebow believes in…and understanding where that success comes from.  I want to share that understanding.

This goes beyond the fact that he is a devout Christian (but that fact certainly helps since J.C. is a pretty good role model), beyond the fact that he is inspiring his team to win because of his leadership and example, even beyond the fact that he is the shiny example of all things right.

Even better, many claim he isn’t even good enough to be a professional quarterback in the NFL.

What most people do not get is that Tim Tebow is a man of deep, deep character – and that is THE foundation for himself and hence, his success.  Everything else comes from it.  In part, this comes from his faith, but it comes from other things like values instilled by his upbringing and his life experiences as well.  He lives the Boy Scout Law – trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.  Everything stems from this foundation of character. 

He is the guy you want your daughters to marry and your sons to be.  You may publicly mock him and snicker at my line, but deep down you know I’m right.   He is not bothered about you mocking him or his faith through ‘tebowing’.  He speaks through his actions and determines himself based upon his own personal character, not others’ opinions of himself.  That is a core tenant of why he is successful and determines his own destiny.  For example – he is not a victim of his own hubris.  Look at his counterparts who have shot  themselves in the leg, commited vehicular manslaughter, chased after Pittsburgh jail-bait, funded dog fighting rings, and got off of murder raps because the ‘glove didn’t fit’.  Guilty or not, putting yourself and the decisions that led to those situations speak of a failing of character.  Even worse,  those men were role-models so their perils are that much worse as their example is magnified.  People of character understand the unsaid social contract of being a role-model and responsibility therein.  I am sure that Tebow does not take that responsibility lightly.

This is normally a political blog, so here is the angle:  Our country is in such dire straights BECAUSE our politicians generally do not make the same ‘for the good of the country’ type of choices that I know Tim Tebow would make because they lack character.  They simply can’t make the tough decisions and then they externalize and make excuses as to why.  This transcends party, personal politics, ideology, or constituency.  Just look at the ‘front-runner’ crop of Republican presidential candidates – one of whom I will unfortunately have to vote for (as it will be the choice between a lesser of two evils).  All these candidates have problems in electability because at their core, they have character issues that lead to flip-flopping, sexual affairs, influence pedaling, and a general sense of the sleazy politician who we can’t exactly pin down.   Transversely, Chris Christie has far more character – and hence why so many wanted him to run even if they didn’t know that was the core to their reasoning.  This is also why I like Ron Paul more than any of the other candidates even though I know he will never get to front runner status and be a real contender.  In part, his character threatens the corrupt establishment.  I believe what he is saying even if I do not agree with everything he says.  I also know he would be able to make the difficult choices that only a person of character can make. 

Our politicians, media, and society in general lacks the necessary character for America to live up to the values our Founding Fathers and previous generations instilled into the fabric of this nation.  By going astray,we now find ourselves in dire straights as a nation.  We reap what we sow due to malignant values that many in our society follow:  get-rich-quick, keeping-up-with-the-jonses, hollywood celebrity, etc; they all reflect a lack of good personal character that then leads to a lack of societal character.

To John Elway’s chagrin, Tim Tebow can lead ‘real’ NFL players not because he is the best at his position but because there are 10 other guys on the field who make the team larger than its individual parts.  It is leadership creating synergy.  This is the reason why the Colts are a completely different team without Peyton Manning.  Yes, his hall-of-fame quarterbacking is key, but his leadership is just as important.    Each man WILLINGLY follows Tebow’s (or Manning’s) outstanding example and gives their fullest because his character inspires them to be better and have more character themselves by working harder and focusing on the team rather than themselves.  That then leads to personal success – so it creates a positive cycle and reinforces itself.  They do better, are better men for it, and then they want to be even better.  Tebow is a proactive, hard-working guy who believes in himself and those around him.  Through that, the Broncos have manufactured wins AS A TEAM where they should have lost; and in the process, have done far more than they each could individually.  Independence is not the extreme virtue, interdependence is.  Republicans and Democrats should take note of that fact.

The winning streak will end as they always do, but it does not change the fundamental character of the person driving the change.  Tebow said it best when he gave the pep talk before the Bronco’s last win:

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another – Proverbs 27:17