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Real Answers™
Copyright: ©2008 Mike Mirakian
610 words


By: Mike Mirakian

Most boys dream of growing up to be an NFL player and winning the Super Bowl (and more than a few men secretly carry that dream into their late 30’s), but few make it to the big game. Instead most men live out quiet, relatively anonymous lives as husbands, fathers, employees and citizens.

It is ironic, and maybe profound, then that a man who lived the dream insists that football does not rank at the top of his life’s priority list. Tony Dungy played defensive back for the Pittsburgh Steelers when they won the Super Bowl in 1979. Now, he coaches the Indianapolis Colts, last year’s Super Bowl champions and a team that entered this year’s playoffs with a good shot at defending their title.

After reaching the pinnacle of NFL coaching success, Dungy wrote a memoir entitled Quiet Strength. In it he tells the story of his life in football. He also writes about the other parts of his life, the parts that don’t make it into the sports section, the parts that seem ordinary, even familiar to the rest of us. He writes about his marriage, about being a father and about his Christian faith.

Dungy’s book made it to the top of the New York Times bestseller list, and it is a testimony to a life of integrity. Yes, he has achieved extraordinary success, earning fame and fortune along the way, but he insists that football is not the most important thing in his life, that winning the Super Bowl was the not the fulfillment of his life’s calling.

Being a loving husband, caring for his children, sharing God’s message of new life through Jesus Christ – these are the things Tony Dungy values most. “I coach football,” he writes. “But the good I can do to glorify God along the way is my real purpose.”

I once had a wise college professor who shared with his class what a life of integrity is all about. He explained that he liked having his son come to work with him because his son was a reminder that he had to be the same person at the office as he was at the dinner table. He wanted his son to know his attitude, values, language and faith didn’t change when he went to work.

I attended a funeral recently for a man who died after a long and probably difficult life. One of his sons spoke during the service. He talked in vague terms about his dad as a father, and then he related how when he turned 18 he went to work for his dad at the family business. He said, “Dad was a totally different guy at work. He was great to be around at the office.”

It wasn’t hard to read between the lines. Dad was a great boss but not such a great dad. It was a sad funeral.

A life of integrity is a life in which each part fits with the others, a life of moral and spiritual consistency.

The world’s wisest man, a man of great power, wealth and fame, took time to pass on to his children the meaning and purpose of life. He wrote, “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching” (Proverbs 1:8). The book of Proverbs is a testimony to Solomon’s desire to be a man of integrity, not just a great king but also a great parent.

As presidential candidates vie for votes and football players battle on the gridiron, life is happening. Real, meaningful life is being lived out by ordinary people who can themselves achieve extraordinary success through lives of integrity.


"Real Answers™" furnished courtesy of The Amy Foundation Internet Syndicate. To contact the author or The Amy Foundation, write or E-mail to: P. O. Box 16091, Lansing, MI 48901-6091;

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