Ground Control Parenting – Carol Sutton Lewis

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Academics

Parents Matter: Star Athlete Listens to Mom and Dad, Chooses Harvard

A recent NYTimes article tells a great story that is right up our alley at GCP. Chris Lewis is a 6’9″ high school junior at Milton High School in Milton, Georgia. A power forward, he is one of the top basketball juniors in the nation. He has been recruited by colleges since he was in middle school, and as a junior had offers from 14 Division 1 colleges, including Notre Dame, Georgia Tech and Miami. Where did he recently commit? Harvard. Why? Because while he loves playing basketball and dreams of the NBA, he also dreams of becoming an engineer, and his 4.0 GPA says he’s got what it takes to do both. And, because he listened to his mom and dad, who advised him about the importance of valuing his education and thinking about life after basketball.

Lewis’ parents know what they are talking about. His dad, Mo Lewis, was a career linebacker with the NY Jets. His mother, Christalyn Lewis, started on three state championship high school basketball teams. His father retired from the NFL after 13 seasons and now works with young athletes in their suburban Atlanta community. Their older son, Mo IV, is a 6’6″ forward who will play basketball for Navy next season. They’ve watched a lot of basketball and they know a lot about the career of a professional athlete. According to the NYTimes article, found here, Mo Lewis made sure his sons knew that professional sports careers usually last only a few years and encouraged them to pursue goals that would help them in the long term.

From an early age, Chris Lewis has been fascinated with understanding how things work, and has been enthusiastic about studying engineering. When he visited Harvard he met with the dean of the engineering school and an engineering professor as well as Coach Tommy Amaker. A key question for Lewis was whether he could pursue engineering internships in the summers. Once Amaker agreed, Lewis committed. By the way, Harvard has made it to the NCAA tournament for the last three years.

For those who suggest that Lewis is walking away from the chance to fast track to NBA stardom through one of the powerhouse sports schools, his father has a ready answer. “Are you following basketball or are you following your 40-year career and what’s going to get you ahead in life? One thing I’m proud about my son, I’m happy that he’s able to understand that four years can go by real fast. Forty years is a long time.”

Sound advice from parents in the know. That’s what we are talking about. Congrats to Chris, and congrats to his parents for a job well done.

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