Profiles in Leadership – Tony & Sharon Hoffman
I had the unique opportunity to witness the culmination of a dream of a young couple this last weekend.
Tony & Sharon Hoffman reached the milestone of Round Table an accomplishment reached by the few who desire to pursue excellence. On stage in front of an audience of over 10,000 they humbly accepted the recognition of their accomplishment. In their introduction LIFE Founder and Policy Council Member Orrin Woodward described them as hungry students. When two educators lead by example, demonstrating their hunger to continuing education and personal excellence you know you have teachers you can follow.
The Round Table level of accomplishment is symbolic of the Round Table of medieval times.
According to Wikipedia, the Round Table is King Arthur‘s famed table in the Arthurian legend, around which he and his Knights congregate. The symbolism of the Round Table developed over time; by the close of the 12th century it had come to represent the chivalric order associated with Arthur’s court, the Knights of the Round Table. Chivalric orders are societies and fellowships of knights that have been created by European monarchs in imitation of the military orders of the Crusades. After the crusades, the memory of these crusading military orders became idealised and romanticised, resulting in the late medieval notion of chivalry, and is reflected in the Arthurian romances of the time. Chivalry, or the chivalric code, is the traditional code of conduct associated with the medieval institution of knighthood. It was originally conceived of as an aristocratic warrior code — the term derives from the French term for horseman — involving individual training and service to others. Over time its meaning has been refined to emphasize more ideals such as knightly virtues, honour and courtly love, and less the martial aspects of the tradition.
The Knight’s Code of Chivalry was a moral system that stated all knights should protect others who can not protect themselves such as; widows, children, and elders. All knights needed to have the strength and skills to fight wars in the Middle Ages. Knights not only had to be strong but they were also extremely disciplined and were expected to use their power to protect the weak and defenceless. Knights vowed to be loyal, generous, and “noble bearing.” Knights were required to tell the truth at all times and always respect the honour of women. Knights not only vowed to protect the weak but also vowed to guard the honour of all fellow knights. They always had to obey those who were placed in authority and were never allowed to refuse a challenge from an equal. Knights lived by honor and for glory. Knights were to fear God and maintain His Church. Knights always kept their faith and never turned their back on a foe. Knights despised pecuniary reward. They persevered to the end in any enterprise begun. The main vow from the knights was that they shall fight for the welfare of all.
In America today there are few who even think in terms of chivalry. A moral code in America has become a moral decay, where honor, virtue and service to others is a rare trait to be found by the few who desire to live a life of purpose. Tony a former teacher and now a middle school assistant principal, and Sharon a former teacher have taken their initial love that of teaching and expanded their classroom. Tony when speaking to audiences always shares stories of the drama of being a principal in today’s public schools, and the behavior he witnesses is not of those who are maturing to a life of virtue and honor. Wanting to dedicate a life of teaching, but acting more as a MMA referee has given this young and talented couple the desire to take their passion to a difference class of students, those who want to live a life of excellence. In the process I have witnessed this couple grow in their personal lives and in their leadership abilities. In the process they have not only grown in their leadership abilities but have given hope and encouragement to others. Their daughters have watched their parents after a full day in the public school, recharge their personal batteries and go out to help others who want to live the life they have always wanted. As parents to their high school daughters they have demonstrated the benefit of service to others by witnessing changed lives in their community.
I look forward to their continued accomplishments and the many lives they will touch as they continue on their journey.