Equipped to quit or persevere

Motivational speaker urges teens to take responsibility

Stephen Mackey, @mackey speaks, delivers his message of character and responsibility today in the auditorium.

Margaret Edmonson

Stephen Mackey, @mackey speaks, delivers his message of character and responsibility today in the auditorium.

Rebecca Covington, Editor in Chief

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The odds were stacked against Stephen Mackey. Born to a teenage white mother and an older black father in a racist community, he faced expectations of him to fail, to not graduate high school, never attend college, become a teen father, and end up in prison.

“I had to learn that I was not a mistake,” Mackey said, “I was not an accident and I was not disqualified.”

Mackey told his story and what it taught him Thursday in the auditorium, surrounded by an audience of student athletes and coaches. A first generation college graduate with his Bachelor of Science from Texas A&M University and a Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary, he now gives more than 275 speeches a year about taking responsibility and changing lives as part of his 2Words Curriculum program for coaches, parents and athletes.  

“No one else can change your focus, your integrity but you,” Mackey said. “If you don’t have integrity, it’s because you chose.”

Mackey explained a typical bad day, and told the crowd how they could let it affect they negatively and adopt a bad attitude, or keep going.

“You are a product of your choices, not your circumstances,” Mackey said. “You are equipped to quit or persevere.”

The motivational speaker encouraged student athletes and coaches to realize their importance as individuals and to set goals for a better future.

“Everyone of us will have to make the choice to do what you don’t want today so we can be successful tomorrow,” Mackey said. “The future you is dependent on what present you does today.”

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