He was not just known, admired and respected in the sports industry but also generally, because of his passionate defense of and work for the voiceless and marginalized in America.
He was king of the trash talk, but a lot of his quotes can be motivating to children as well.
The most common one that is circulating today is: “If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it—then I can achieve it.”
How wonderful is that a message for children? It is empowering. Another great one is a message about the importance of everyone being true to their conviction and beliefs, independent of what others want them to believe.
It is essential in this era of rampant bullying, in person and online, that kids grow in the confidence to defend themselves and not bow to peer pressure.
“I know where I’m going and I know the truth, and I don’t have to be what you want me to be. I’m free to be what I want,” the champ has said.
Society boxes all of us into certain categories of expectation. Children should grow to explore their passion, and interests independent of what their parents, peers and others say.
“Service to others is the rent you pay for your time here on earth,” Ali has said.
So many times, children grow to expect from their parents, their teachers and others but not to help other people.
We live in an entitlement society. Ali promoted the importance and value of service.
Here are my other favorite messages that are great for children as well:
And when asked once how would he like to be remembered, Ali eloquently and poetically responded:
I’d like for them to say:
He took a few cups of love.
He took one tablespoon of patience,
One teaspoon of generosity,
One pint of kindness.
He took one quart of laughter,
One pinch of concern.
And then, he mixed willingness with happiness.
He added lots of faith,
And he stirred it up well.
Then he spread it over a span of a lifetime,
And he served it to each and every deserving person he met.
“But your soul, and your spirit never die. That’s gonna live forever.”