Any educator will tell you that if you put a dozen or so adolescent boys in a classroom the atmosphere will have a tendency to get rather rowdy. In a high school comprised entirely of males I wasn’t hard pressed to find avenues for mischief.
When I was a junior in high-school my favorite history teacher, Wayne McKim, taught me a lesson that I never forgot.
I always had a habit of landing right in the middle of the fracas, whether it was seeing how many times I could get up to sharpen my pencil before getting yelled at or trying to drum up enough money from my fellow classmates to bribe a friend to jump out our first story window in the middle of class.
It wasn’t that I felt at odds with Mr. McKim, our relationship was quite friendly, I just couldn’t help myself.
In what was to be one of our last conversations, he looked at me very seriously and said, “David, you have so much to offer. Offer it to yourself. Look at these men around you and offer it to them.” My knowledge of his ailing health as well as the respect I had for him lent more gravity to his words and I never forgot them.
Shortly after, Mr. McKim passed away after a long struggle with lung cancer. I was one of his last students. I had the honor of watching him in his final weeks doing what he loved: teaching.
It wasn’t just facts and dates that Mr. McKim was teaching, it was the idea that we could be whoever we wanted as long as we worked hard and never gave up on ourselves.
When I arrived at Loyola my freshman year, I was interested in Greek life as an opportunity to branch out and get to know more people at Loyola. As I went through rush I began to see it as something more. I saw these men in their respective fraternities sharing a bond that I felt with my old history teacher and fellow high school class mates. I saw what they offered to each other and I wanted to be a part of it, to offer them what I had. Being in a fraternity gave me a chance to live up to the potential that Mr. McKim saw in me and to grow as a person. The bonds I formed while at Loyola with the men of my fraternity are ones that I will always cherish.
It’s been said of Greek life that from the outside looking in you can’t understand it and from the inside looking out you can’t explain it.
This week I pulled some men and women from Loyola’s Greek life aside to explain what it means to them. I encourage you to come inside and see for yourself.