Nearly 14 years ago, my mom gave me a cup.
I had just signed a bid to join Pi Kappa Phi. I shared the news with my parents and a week later I got a package from home with this cup:
Close, but no cigar.
As you can see, the cup's letters read Phi Kappa Psi. Two out of three ain't bad.
And yet for whatever reason, I kept the cup. It's a sign of my mom's support for me in all endeavors throughout my life. It's proof of her care and concern for what happens in my life. And it shows that sometimes, the best of intentions are what matter most.
What makes this cup poignant right now, as I write this in a hotel room in Indianapolis, is that tomorrow, I'll stand on a stage and talk about leadership to young men who are committed members of - you guessed it - Phi Kappa Psi.
I'll talk about membership and dedication, service and leadership. But I'll also tell the story of this cup and challenge them to lend support to others in their lives and on their campuses. I'll tell them that going out of their way to show others they care is what forms the bedrock of meaningful community.
And I'll make sure that they know this is worth doing, even if you don't get it quite right the first time.
Because support and concern can last a long time, like a red plastic cup, given long ago, stored in a cupboard, waiting for it's grand introduction to the world.