Willie Spears

During football season Coach Spears will have his friends fill in for him as he focuses on the season. This week we have Fred Youngblood.

Building a Productive Citizen

I remember, Deacons Harris and Caldwell of Morning Star Baptist Church of Union Springs giving me my first job. I was tasked with sweeping the floors, dusting the benches and ringing the bell to let the community know it was time for church. I learned the art of being on time and doing a job well, at an early age. My aunt Beatrice, (with whom I lived) would tell me how proud she was when she heard the church bell ringing. I believe giving responsibility and encouragement are important to the development of a child.

The task is not nearly as important as the sense of the responsibility of doing the task. The first few weeks, Deacon Harris would meet me at the church and open the door. Aunt Bea told me to always be there before Deacon Harris. I learned to be there early. This was an issue in the early years of my marriage, as my wife will tell you that I like to be early to everything. Being on time is a responsibility of the task. If you are looking for one thing to take away from this read, I would say teaching young people to be on time is a good take away. In the early days of the job Deacon Harris would inspect the floor and the benches before I was allowed to ring the bell.

One of the things he did the first couple of Sundays was to show me how he wanted me to sweep and dust. Someone once said, “The only reason jobs are not being done as desired is the lack of knowing what to do, the lack of knowing how to do and or the lack of wanting to do.” The person followed up by saying the solution to the problem is in the hands of management. If there is a lack of knowing what to do, tell them; if there is a lack of knowing how to do, show them; if there is a lack of wanting to do, give them a reason to value doing it. I will not address my aunt’s method of giving me a reason to do it. But, I do think it is important to do more than say “you do it cause I say so.” I think instruction is an important part of getting the task done to your standards.

Commitment to developing the ability to instruct would be another good take-away. Deacon Harris did not say much, but the look on his face and the nod of his head after I finished dusting and sweeping was all the encouragement I needed. Aunt Bea, listening for the sound of the bell, encouraged me to cause the bell to swing as far as I could.

Encouragement is an amazing tool to move performance from one level to another. What does encouraging movement of performance to another level look like? It looks like pointing out short falls in a loving manner and offering an opportunity to improve. It looks like showing approval when there is movement in the desired direction. I remember sitting with a mother and her son who was failing math in school. After our first session together, I said to the son I wanted him to do his very best on the next math quiz. He said that he would try his best. I said to his mother I wanted her to celebrate if he brings home a D grade. She looked at me with a frown on her face and said I don’t know if I could do it. Encouragement is needed more on the journey than upon arrival.

Fred Youngblood was born in Union Springs, AL. He graduated from Carver High School Union Springs, Class of 1961. He is married with three adult children. Fred was the first captain of a football team at Carver High School now Bullock County High School.

An engineer for the last 50 years, Fred has been honored by Rockwell International, Boeing and NASA for his work on the Space Shuttle, Space Station and Missile systems. He was twice a candidate for Engineer of the Year. Fred was selected as a Senior Principal Engineer and Technical Fellow of the Boeing Company. He is most proud of developing a minority engineering intern program at Rockwell of Anaheim California.

A number of engineering students from HBCUs were a part of the program. Fred served eight years on the Chino Valley Unified School Board. As board president he shepherded the addition on study of the Christian Bible to the high schools curriculum. He is a member of Mt. Zion of Ontario, Ca where he served as the Board of trustee's president for many years and is currently a deacon and a Sunday School teacher.

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