Influential teacher: Lessons learned from Tom Holmoe


I have been blessed with the opportunity to coach women’s soccer at Brigham Young University for the last 11 years. I feel so lucky to be able to work in an environment where I see qualities of the Savior in so many people.

I have particularly been inspired by Tom Holmoe and the lessons that he has taught me as he strives to love and serve like the Savior. Although they are lessons I have seen and learned at work, they are principles that I have tried to apply at home and at church. I have felt closer to the Savior, felt more peace in my life, and have had more opportunities to impact others as I have tried to do this.

The individual matters

Unfortunately, sometimes we get caught comparing ourselves with others. I found myself doing this as I began working with extremely experienced and successful coaches. I began to doubt my abilities and the impact that I could have on the soccer team. But the more time I spent listening to Tom and his views during department meetings and individual conversations, I was reminded that I had unique qualities and could impact the team in my own special way.

Even though I was a part-time, second assistant coach for the soccer team, Tom cared about me individually. Once I felt this support from someone I respected so much I felt like I had wings to fly. Feeling the Savior’s love through Tom taught me how important it is to let the people I know that they are also important and special in their own way so that they too can feel like they have wings to fly.

Giving of our time shows that we genuinely care

Life seems to be moving at a faster and faster pace. We all have so many responsibilities and have so many things to do. Sometimes we have so much on our plate that we become incredibly rushed throughout the day. As we sprint through the day, we often miss out on what could be valuable and meaningful interactions with others.

While at times I have been in this mode myself, I was greatly impacted recently by Tom’s generosity with his time. The demands that are on Tom are pretty extreme. There have been a few occasions where I needed help from him. He was so quick to help me right then and there; to guide me in what I should do. I know he had a million things to do but in that moment I felt like he was completely focused on what he could do to help me.

When we are willing to be generous with our time, individuals will feel that we genuinely care about them. We will be able to build strong relationships of trust with them and have opportunities to lift and strengthen them in their times of need, as did the Savior.

We can go above and beyond what the job description says

I have learned that there is a difference between going through the motions just to get the job done and completely throwing yourself out there and doing everything that you can to make a difference.

A few years ago the soccer team had the opportunity to go to the NCAA tournament. We had to leave BYU around 5 a.m. to get to the airport. As we were about to get on the freeway in Orem we heard Jen [Rockwood], the head coach, shout, “Look out the window!” What in the world? We saw a figure all bundled up in a big coat, hat and gloves, holding a pole waving a huge “Y” flag back and forth in the air along the sidewalk.

What do you know? It was Tom.

I remember thinking, “Wow, that is pretty special that BYU’s athletic director cares about the women’s soccer team so much that he would wake up early in the morning and stand out in the freezing cold while waiting for us to drive by and see us for a few seconds.”

He wanted us to know and showed through his actions that we had his support. I know that while we are engaged in tasks at home, church or work we can go the extra mile and it will impact others in ways that we may never have imagined.

The Savior, our ultimate teacher

Our ultimate teacher and example is the Savior. He is filled with unimaginable amounts of love. It is amazing to see so many Christlike qualities in the people that surround me each day. Because I am able to see it firsthand in others, I know that I have the ability to make these Christlike qualities a part of who I am. I am thankful to all of my past teachers that changed my life in various ways as they displayed Christlike love.

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