As a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, Jeff Kemp was told that his responsibility was to throw a pass within a one foot diameter of the receiver’s chest.
Meanwhile, the receivers were told that if they could touch the football, they must catch it.
Both positions worked for each other and, as a result, the entire team benefited.
That type of investor mentality is important in all relationships, Kemp told a group of local business leaders Friday at the Imperial Centre for the Arts and Sciences.
Often, people act more like consumers than investors, which is damaging to relationships, Kemp said.
“We’re taking from people, expecting them to satisfy us, and it makes us less of the dependable, loving, positive person we should be,” Kemp said. “It zaps the energy from the relationship, and it is breaking up families.”
Kemp is a vice president and HomeBuilder Catalyst for Family Life, which is a nonprofit organization, based in Little Rock, Ark., that seeks to help people change the world one home at a time. Kemp visited several sites in Rocky Mount on Friday to talk to local residents.
Kemp spoke to local business leaders Friday morning about the intersection of business, government and family. That night, Kemp and former NFL safety Eugene Robinson planned to talk to approximately 40 local pastors and other local business leaders.
This morning, they are scheduled to talk to men and boys during a program called “Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood.” The event is scheduled to run from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. at Faith Christian School, 1333 Faith Christian Drive. It is open to the public.
The events are sponsored by local Christian business leaders who are seeking to promote unity in the community, as well as the upcoming “God Belongs In My City” prayer walk, which will take place in May.
Kemp encouraged local business leaders Friday morning to be investors in their relationships, rather than consumers. That approach is important in marriages, families, communities and businesses, Kemp said.
People often shy way from talking about relationships, Kemp said. He said there are ways to talk about the importance of healthy marriages and strong families with grace, tolerance and encouragement.
It’s important to set high standards, Kemp said. He said a person’s past does not disqualify him or her from encouraging others to high standards.
“It’s not our past, but what we do with the present and the future that define us,” Kemp said.
He told a story that his dental hygienist, a divorced single mom, shared with him.
The woman’s son broke his arm at the beginning of baseball season, and he was upset that he wouldn’t get to play, Kemp said. The woman told her son that he made a commitment going into the season that he was going to be the best teammate he could be. She encouraged her son to stick with the team. Even though he couldn’t play, he could still support his teammates, the woman said.
One day, she said, that type of commitment would make him a great husband and father.
Sometimes challenges and rotten circumstances can be turned into positive things, Kemp said.
He said investing in relationships can help create a better community.
Kemp told another story of a friend whose wife died from brain cancer. A couple months after his wife died, the man spoke to a group of business leaders whom he typically met with every week. He told the group that he had an excellent marriage, but he didn’t realize what a treasure his wife was until she was gone.
Kemp’s friend gave the men roses, chocolates and notecards and challenged them to write a message to their wives. He turned his pain into blessings by investing in other members of the group, Kemp said.
Kemp challenged the group of local business leaders to hold themselves accountable, and to commit to investing in others and bringing out the best in them.
“We want to be investors, not consumers,” Kemp said.