Holding up to your promises, offering encouragement and giving back to the community. Those are just some of the positive behaviors adults display in serving as role models for youth.
Last week, cadets at the Kenneth "Honey" Rubenstein Juvenile Center had the chance to meet with political and athletic leaders who gave them a pep talk about life and displayed sportsmanship on the basketball court. U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin made his third trip to the center for the annual Charity Basketball Game and was accompanied by NFL standout Randy Moss, "America's Got Talent" winner Landau Eugene Murphy Jr., former West Virginia University quarterback Pat White, former WVU point guard Joe Mazzula and former WVU center Rob Summers, and other state officials.
Proceeds from the game benefited the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Blackwater Ministerial Food Pantry. The cadets claimed the final two winning points for the game. The students' real victory was much more than the trophy they received.
"We probably believe in you more than you do yourselves," Manchin told the cadets. "You only live once and you have to learn from your mistakes. You have to keep striving to be the best you can be."
It's that kind of advice and genuine expression of caring that builds self-esteem. It was Manchin's action, though, that spoke louder than his words. He showed the cadets he really does believe in them by making good on his promise to return to the game.
Surely, the students will remember the evening for years. The boost in self-confidence they received can help carry them through their lives.