While watching basketball, I heard a wonderful Gatorade commercial featuring John Wooden reading the poem “The Little Chap Who Follows Me”.  The poem describes the burden a father carries to create a positive impression on his son.

A careful man I must always be;
A little fellow follows me.
I know I dare
not go astray
For fear he’ll go the self same way.

I cannot once escape his eyes,
Whate’er he sees me do, he tries.
Like me he says he’s going to be;
This little chap who follows me.

He thinks that I am good and fine,
Believes in every word of mine.
The base in me he must not see;
This little chap who follows me.

I must be careful as I go
Through summer’s sun and winter’s snow,
Because I am building for the years to be;
This little chap who follows me.

There are countless things my father did to set a positive example.  I can’t count the number of times he could have taken the easy way out, acted carelessly or thoughtlessly.  I can definitely attest that I was the “little chap” who followed him because of his behavior.  He set the bar extremely high, which is why I feel obligated to match it.

Doing the right thing, however small and inconsequential, is not often rewarded or noticed.  It is often the tlittle things  like telling the truth when it’s inconvenient or going above and beyond to increase the comfort of your family that make a big impression on a “little chap”.

To read more about caring for your family, read here.

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6 Responses to “The Little Chap Who Follows Me – John Wooden”

  1. SharookhNo Gravatar on April 26th, 2009 10:12 pm

    That was a very moving poem.  I am deeply touched by your comments and very happy for you!  This is an outstanding website and can develop into a great business. Keep building as it can never be “good enough”!

    Love….. Dad

  2. DavidNo Gravatar on November 20th, 2010 11:42 pm

    hey can you send me the audio for this so i can put it on my ipod?

  3. Thomas SmallridgeNo Gravatar on June 21st, 2011 12:09 am

    I very much hate to correct anyone on anything. Although John Wooden DID read this poem in the Gatorade commercial, he did NOT write the poem.
    I am almost 60 years old. When my grandmother found out she had a new grandson, she gave my father an old newspaper clipping with this poem in it. She had clipped that poem from the paper years before that. At the end of the poem in that clipping, it says AUTHOR UNKNOWN. I have that very clipping in a frame on my desk. Although John Wooden was an act of class, this NOT his work. Please, verify. This what is wrong with the internet.

  4. gandswNo Gravatar on November 4th, 2011 4:37 pm

    I don’t see that anyone ever said Wooden wrote this, just that he read it.  The author was Rev. Claude Wisdom White, Sr

  5. John Mandick on January 24th, 2013 7:40 pm

    Yes. I also ran into the issue regarding authorship of the above poem. Thomas is right. The author is unknown. @gandsw: I’m not so sure that you are correct – according to Congressional Record- the poem is confirmed as having an ‘unknown’ author. Here’s the link. http://bit.ly/10V11wF

  6. RehanNo Gravatar on November 20th, 2014 5:41 pm

    Hey ValerieThat’s an interesting quetison. I don’t tend to think (worry?) about titles until the very last minute. For me, it’s the story, or the book that comes first and two out of the three of my books only got their final titles after they’d been accepted with Freaks! being the exception (which I think had more to do with it being a collaborative project).Not So Perfect is actually a line from one of the stories (you’ll have to see if you can spot it!). It does, I think, sum the collection up quite well. And it came about after many, many lists of possible titles and discussions with the publisher.And no, I don’t think titles HAVE to unify a collection but I do think it helps if they do. There are lots of XYZ And Other Stories collections out there and I don’t think it’s done them any harm.I have in the past tried to write stories to titles but they’ve tended not to be all that successful! I think it’s because, for me and the way I work, the title becomes more important than the story which is the wrong way round!

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