Emotion was the word of the day on Monday morning.

I was listening to Philadelphia’s 94WIP sports-talk radio while driving to work. There were plenty of complaints about the lack of emotion coming from coach Chip Kelly after another disappointing Eagles loss. It made me think about the importance of emotion and the value of showing it as a coach, leader or teacher. I asked myself: how we can use our emotions to teach and inspire others? In other words, what’s emotion got to do with it?

If Chip Kelly was a better cheerleader for his players, would he have a winning team? Would that work better than playing the tough coach who doesn’t tolerate anything less than perfection? Or, is he doing all the right things and the players are just not performing this season?

As an adjunct professor for more than 10 years at Temple University, I am proud that I have always been a tough and enthusiastic professor who exhibits great emotion and passion. But this semester, I feel a little like Chip Kelly.

I prepared as usual and brought the same level of enthusiasm and knowledge to the classroom as I always do each term. Yes, I brought my A-game. And, guess what? That still was not enough.

Last week, I felt like I had lost the big game.

I was depleted.

A few students had decided to quit, just like the Eagles did during Sunday’s game.

I used the beginning of my class to give a passionate lecture about the importance of personal excellence and the desire to succeed. For me, emotion has a lot to do with my desire to make a difference. But, I was just as emotional as I ever have been about teaching this whole semester. Sometimes we can do it all right and still come up short. And I feel like I have failed when my students quit.

On the radio during Monday morning’s broadcast, Angelo Cataldi kept saying, “Where is the emotion? I don’t see any emotion!” No one knows what Chip Kelly feels inside. I wondered if perhaps he feels the same way I do but shows and handles it differently.

Yet, despite not knowing how he feels about the loss, the fans and the sports media want to draw their own conclusions.

We never really know what is going on in someone’s world.

When we pretend to know we begin to judge and make assumptions. Judgment and assumptions are things that create the misunderstandings and the pain. We don’t know.

The holidays can be make all of us more sensitive and can make us feel more vulnerable or sometimes even alone. It’s imperative that we remind ourselves that we don’t know how others feel.

You may have a single friend who may be longing to meet the perfect mate, the holidays may evoke a time of sadness or loneliness therefore we should show extra kindness, compassion and greater understanding. We all need to feel appreciated, loved and valued all the time, but maybe we should try to extra hard this holiday season.

This season, let’s be thankful.

Let’s be kind.

Let’s remember we all express our emotions in our own unique way.

As we begin to kick off the holiday season, I think it is the perfect time to pause and remind ourselves that we all emote differently all the time — during work and play — and we need to accept each other despite our differences in emotional style because there is no one right way of emoting – it’s just your way.


Chip Kelly

Happy Thanksgiving and be thankful for all of your emotions!

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