Rhodes – Keep your eyes in the conversation

I have often overheard a speech or presentation or shared in a conversation, when a wise comment was made. Thinking back on these comments, I thought I would share them on Underwood’s website. I have committed to posting those meaningful comments made by people I respect.  I started with Jimmy Evans and continued with Steve Baggerly.  

I didn’t see this one coming but it made us laugh and I believe it’s worth sharing. 

Beginning in 1988 or so and continuing until 1996, I coached “The Storm” (a team of kids born in 1986) in the Amarillo Soccer Association’s recreational league.  As any coach of a youth team will tell you, it can be difficult to obtain and retain each member of the team’s attention for any material time.  In one particularly frustrating moment, I began using the phrase:  “men, get your eyes in this conversation.”  It worked with all the athletes:  Chris Hinz (probably our team’s only college athlete), Shawn Stevens, Dillon Woodman (I still have the letter in which he said that I made him believe he could “do anything”), Blake Sissel, Ryan Cantwell, and the Rhodes’s son, Kregg.

I expect that I continued to use the phrase with the Rhodes’s kids, Katherine, Kregg and Jena, after retiring as a recreational league soccer coach.

The Rhodes’s oldest daughter, Katherine Parks, has borrowed the phrase “get your eyes in this conversation” with her daughters, Abigail and Alden. The Rhodeses and Parks consider Alden to be my namesake.  Alden is as observant, insightful and deliberate as I’d like to be, so I am proud of my namesake.

Last week, the Rhodes’s “Gang’s All Here” received a group text in which Alden’s father, Billy Parks, confirmed that six-year old Alden instructed her father to “get his eyes in the conversation.”  After Billy laughed, I think he was able to get his eyes in the conversation.  

Mean preachers don’t reach wounded people.  Relationships matter.  Keep your eyes in the conversation (because folks are watching).

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