Pat Williams and 'Souls of Steel'

Character - it's what we need to teach ourselves and our children if we want to be better parents, says Orlando Magic's Senior Vice President Pat Williams.


Character is not what you do in front of people, but what you do when you think no one is watching. Pat Williams' newest book, Souls of Steel, got its title because he says the generation coming up needs to have real inner toughness and good character. There is a huge task facing America – to raise kids with character. He defines character as who you are and your make up. If you have a "good face," or countenance, it is because your face reflects how you are inwardly. Pat talked with hundreds of men and women – leaders from sports, education, and youth workers about how they learned to succeed in life and what they see in the youth of today. The answers seemed universal. Even though people had ability, the trait that was important to long lasting success was character. Character has to be taught, especially in the home, and parents are at the forefront. It's their job to teach character - they can't stop. Fathers are key players. Unfortunately, most dads are not interested or involved in their children's lives. The traits of good character are a plumb line. If you see character flaws, it is good to address the flaws and strengthen those weak areas. Above all, parents are trainers and teachers. It's never too late to instill good character traits in your children, or yourself. It's a lifelong process ...training kids is a constant reminder that adults have to walk strong. No one ever "arrives," because we all still have a sin nature. Through Pat's research process, he discovered that character is usually taught in life through, sports, scouting, key people (like a Sunday school teacher, coaches, youth workers, neighbors). Adults never know who they're reaching. For example, the founder of the restaurant Chick-Fil-A, Truitt Cathy, was talking to a group of kids. When a six-year-old said he wanted to be just like Truitt, he realized the importance of being a role model and that Truit really had to pay attention to how he lived. As a grandparent, Pat is teaching the same qualities to his grandchildren. It is important for parents and grandparents to be on the same page. HOW TO BUILD CHARACTER The traits that Pat says are important when it comes to character: integrity, diligence, self-control, courage, perseverance, humility, love, responsibility, faith, and work ethic. The ones he would like to focus on are honesty/integrity, responsibility, and work ethic. Honesty is telling the truth and being straightforward. Sometimes people think that honesty and character are the same thing, but Pat says that honesty is a part of character. He also says honesty and integrity are not the same things. Integrity means that someone is the same person consistently – his words and actions match and there is no duplicity. The next trait is responsibility. Pat says no one seems to want to be responsible anymore. A good rule of thumb is "I am in charge of me." You are responsible for the decisions you make and the outcome of the decisions you make. The last trait is work ethic. This generation struggles with work, Many people don't want to work and there is a sense of entitlement. Kids have to understand the concept like it is in the Bible, if you don't work, you don't eat. ABOUT PAT Pat Williams is the senior vice president of the NBA’s Orlando Magic. As one of America’s top motivational, inspirational, and humorous speakers, he has addressed employees from many of the Fortune 500 companies and the Million Dollar Round Table. He has been a featured speaker at two Billy Graham Crusades and two Peter Lowe Success Seminars. He has also spoken on many university campuses. After serving for seven years in the United States Army, Pat spent seven years in the Philadelphia Phillies organization, two as a minor league catcher, and five in the front office. He then spent three years in the Minnesota Twins organization before moving to the National Basketball Association. Since 1968, he has been affiliated with teams in Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia, including the 1983 World Champion 76ers. He is now with the Orlando Magic which he co-founded in 1987 and helped lead to the NBA finals in 1995. Twenty-three of his teams have gone to the NBA play-offs and five of them have made the NBA finals. In 1996, Pat was named as one of the 50 most influential people in NBA history by a national publication. In his NBA career, he has traded Pete Maravich, traded for Julius Erving, Moses Malone, Penny Hardaway, and won four NBA draft lotteries, including back-to-back winners in 1992 and 1993 and most recently in 2004. He also drafted Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, Maurice Cheeks, Andrew Toney and Darryl Dawkins and signed Billy Cunningham, Chuck Daly, and Matt Guokas to their first professional coaching contracts. Twelve of his former players have become NBA head coaches and seventeen have become assistant coaches. Pat and his wife Ruth are the parents of 19 children, including 14 adopted from four nations, ranging in age from 20 to 34. For one year, 16 of his children were all teenagers at the same time. Pat helps teach an adult Sunday school class at First Baptist Church of Orlando and hosts a weekly sports radio show. In the last 10 years he has completed 38 marathons, including the Boston Marathon 10 times and also climbed Mt. Rainier.


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