I attended Marietta High School, where the motto is “Be Somebody”. Through research, I found out that this was initiated by Coach Ben T. Wilkins, who was an educator and great person of influence at my Alma Mater. It was great to learn how this motto came about. I also found that Coach Wilkins not only encouraged the students to be somebody but lived it out himself by being a part of the Marietta City Schools’ integration in 1966. Coach Wilkins passed away in 1984 and as a result of his service and legacy, his picture is now on a plaque at Northcutt Stadium.
I graduated in 2002 and remember feeling proud that I could go out into the world and share that I came from a place that encouraged me in so many ways to “be somebody.” I learned to believe I was somebody because the words were in my environment and in the atmosphere everyday. Beyond that, I was surrounded by teachers and administrators who saw the potential in me and encouraged me, even through my difficult moments. I was often told that I was a bright student and had a great future ahead of me. Not every student has the blessing of going to school and encountering educators who actually encourage them and believe in them. It’s an unfortunate reality, and Marietta High School allowed me to experience something that I don’t take for granted. The standard of excellence gave me a foundation on which to build, work and BE.
As I thought about what it means to BE, I wanted to define it with simplicity, but I’m naturally a deep thinker and couldn’t reduce it to its literary function as a present subjunctive. I didn’t want to incorporate the past tense plural form “were”. It’s the past. I wanted to focus on what it is to just “BE”. For the sake amplifying the action required, I’ll capitalize it throughout the rest of your reading experience. 🙂
To BE requires the active engagement of some element of living. Often when I send my daughter off, I encourage her to “be good.” She understands that this requires her to BEhave according to the principles she is BEing taught in order to live an effective and productive life.
To BE is subtle in the way of not BEing tangible, but rather a state of taking action internally, with the manifestation being external. One must make a decision to act out a qualification or characterization in order to BE. Coach Wilkins was a catalyst for change. He made a decision to BE a positive influence. As a result, he has inspired those who have encountered the motto “Be Somebody” years and years beyond his tenure with the school.
There are a few specific words that resonated with me that I heard many times while a part of a ministry in the last several years:
BElieve – To accept something as true.
BElong – To BE an attribute, part or function of a person or thing.
BEcome – To come into existence.
Each of these words requires intangible action in order to provide an outward manifestation. They require effort on your part as an individual to engage yourself in life. So, no matter what you do internally, it will always manifest externally.
Now, as a kingdom helper, I would be remiss to exclude how the word of God has influenced my thought process on this subject.
One of my favorite bible verses is Joshua 1:9 which says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (NKJV)
This verse got me through a few tough decisions, and my faith has been increased as a result. Joshua was commanded to go, as he was being called to a position of leadership. He was promised many things as he carried out his calling to lead. God instructed him to BE strong and courageous, not to fear or be discouraged and that he would BE with Joshua wherever he went. This was a command given to Joshua. Why would God tell Joshua to BE something if he was not going to endow him to carry it out? It’s amazing to me.
Then, in Exodus 3:14, God says to Moses, “….“I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”(NKJV). Do you understand what it means for God to tell Moses this??! The state of being, which is so definitive, that it can’t be broken down? The Great I AM.
God IS, not was. God can never be a “was” or a “hasbeen.” Amazing. He’s eternal, all powerful, all knowing, omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. Nothing can trump him. So as a child of God, you can be anything he calls you to be, you can do whatever he calls you to do. You ARE somebody, so BE somebody.
Lesson: Strive to cause a ripple effect with whatever you choose to BE.
I pray that these words have been a blessing to you.