The room stills slowly as Wade moves to the front. Still not completely comfortable with having the spotlight, he begins to speak, as a look of serious contemplation moves across his face. Having just watched a video collage of newsreels covering the fatal accident of his son Ryan, Wade now presents the question at the core of Measured By Character, the message turned program borne out of the pain of Ryan’s sudden death.
“All of us are woven into this worlds fabric of effect and change. The question is are you affecting this world in a positive or negative way?” His voice quivers but the message is steadfast and strong; you will be remembered for who you are, not what you do.
For the next hour he impresses upon the listener the importance of leaving a lasting legacy for good. Borrowing from Hemingway, Wade begins to build upon the theme, “Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another”, he declares.
Wade and Laura White are dedicated to bringing the message of hope to Americas youth. Where some see reckless, purposeless kids, they see hope for the future. Their dream is large, gigantic, in fact. They are going to take the message of character into every school, every classroom in America. Yes, a monumental task to be sure but one that they truly believe possible. I wasn’t so sure.
A short time ago Wade called me. As soon as I answered he began, “I’ve got some exciting news”, he said almost breathlessly, “Celina ISD has scheduled Measured!” He paused and then with the giddiness of a new lottery winner added, “and Tioga ISD has agreed to schedule us also”.
He was absolutely ecstatic. I thought about it for a moment and then realized, this is what Wade White is built for. This is not just his hearts desire, it’s his calling.
I didn’t want to be a wet blanket but, being Wades friend I thought it was my responsibility to bring some reality to the conversation.
“That’s amazing, man!”, I said with all sincerity, “but you have to figure out how to pay for this. It isn’t going to be cheap”.
“I know”, he answered, “but it’s coming together. It’ll happen, brother, you just watch”. I won’t say I was skeptical but I was concerned.
A few days later he called. “Meet me for coffee”, he chirped. As we sat over coffee I could see excitement stretched across his weary face. “I told you it would come together!” Then he began to tell me of the sponsors that were beginning to line up. Individuals and businesses that see the need for this message and the potential of this messenger.
Wade looks forward to scheduling more schools but is especially excited about his talks with Aubrey ISD, kind of the birthplace of this mission. The students and faculty of Aubrey High School reached out to Wade and Laura following Ryan’s death and they have a special love for these special people. Wade hopes to be able to bring the Measured by Character program there April 6 but, the details are still to be worked out.
It’s been a long, grueling road to this point and the Whites know they have far to go. But, the words that keep them moving forward were spoken by Ryan,
“To create does not always mean to build. Sometimes it means to chip away from ourselves”.
If you would like to help Wade and Laura bring Measured by Character to more schools or just learn more about the message visit their website at www.measuredbycharacter.com .