Being asked recently “why do you do what you do?” my thoughts were filled with about a ‘k ’zillion’ (it’s so great talking with little kids) possible responses. In truth, this question brought me back to years ago during the beginning years of Agape when we were establishing the very foundation of the agency. The mentors of that period are long gone from the field, some going on to do other things, others sadly have passed away.
In a spirit of great appreciation, I would like to share some memories of those who have influenced ‘why I do what I do’.
Doug Geib Sr., (my dad)-remembering like yesterday his main question during the beginning year of Agape. “Are you scared?” in which I recalled responding with an emotional “well….yeah!!!” His very direct response was an emphatic “good” which based on the look on my face he knew that he had confused me even more than I already appeared. “Fear either motivates or freezes you….only you can decide”. He followed up with a smile, and said: “stay motivated, and stay warm”. Over the years, while I have definitely have had to remind myself of his response, it remains in the forefront of ‘why I do what I do’.
Preston McMurry, (a special friend)-who reminded me during a critical time in my journey of the gift that Agape was, and the gift Agape remained…..and “why on earth was I considering giving up this ‘gift’ that I felt to be of, and from God?” He was short and to the point…..”In that ‘He’ has not said otherwise, do not give away that which is not yours to give away. Get focused!”
Randy Pavlak, (Board President/friend)-for his mentoring of me through good times and times of challenge. For patting me on the back for work well done, and ‘motivating’ (i.e. providing a proverbial motivation from behind) during times I considered ‘throwing in the towel’. He said one time during a Board dinner….”there have been times where I have seen him so down and was concerned he was going to give up; and honestly given the things he had been through would not have blamed him….however I’m glad he decided to stay, and I believe the mission of Agape is where it is as a result of his dedication.”
Rhonda Reagh, (coach)-who has taught me so many valuable lessons; of them the value of getting 10,000 feet above a given situation in order to look at it from above, and map one’s course through the forest of trees before them. Further, that “the strength to grow and move forward is within each of us…..yet it is up to us to recognize this strength and pursue it”.
Donald Bell, (who I’m honored to call a friend)-for providing me the visual of foster care through the eyes of a youth who had been there…..influencing me, even more, to provide additional opportunities to the youth we are entrusted to serve. One of my favorite ‘Don-isms’ remains “I may not be where I want to be, however, I’m better than I was yesterday”. I definitely have shared that phase with the youth we serve….remembering always to ‘give hope for tomorrow’.
‘Kid President’ (check out his videos on YouTube) comes to mind as probably the youngest of mentors. One of his encouraging messages concludes with “keep going, keep going, keep going…do something to make the world awesome” and has had a life impact upon me!! What a great message!!!…think about it….each of us taking responsibility for creating ’awesomeness’ in the world!!
While there are many more that have influenced “why I do what I do”, I would be remiss not to share my heartfelt appreciation for my family. I begin with my ‘kids”, now young adults married, some with children of their own. Stephen, Emily, and Kaitlyn have been nothing short of wonderfully amazing. Late nights, early mornings, ‘shared holidays’ and attending most every agency celebration during their young lives, they each independently embraced the serving mission of Agape, and have continued to live out ‘servant serving’ in their adult journeys.
Finally, that leaves me with Sandie (my wife and co-worker)-words cannot express my thanks for this amazing person who has so influenced and supported me, and is absolutely without a doubt one of the major influencers of “why” I do what I do”. Be them the foundational principles of ‘serving with excellence’, being ‘positive, professional and progressive’, and ‘Agape Strong’-Giving Hope for Tomorrow”, she has remained steadfast in standing firm that “the more we serve, the more opportunities we are given to serve”. She has been not only my greatest cheerleader; she has always reminded me that what we do is truly a ‘gift’…we are called to share with others!
In answering ‘why I do what I do”, I can honestly respond that it is because I have been blessed with a passion for serving, encouraged and influenced by amazing friends and mentors, surrounded by ‘service beyond self’ driven warriors, and provided love and support by family that is unmatched which drives me even more to share this ‘gift’ called Agape with those entrusted to our care.