“Students came to me and said they want to make changes in the school’s culture while reaching out to community leaders and organizations,” he said.
“Following the conference I had students want to expand leadership in the building and work to improve our student culture. Over the summer (Hamilton teachers) and I worked with a group of 20 students,” said Wilhelm.
“We read ‘Above The Line’ by Urban Meyer and discussed leadership and culture. At the end of our time together students were able to create nine lessons to be implemented in our building throughout the school year,” he said.
Meyer, who coached the Ohio State Buckeyes to the national championship in 2014 and previously won titles with the University of Florida in 2006 and 2008, is widely regarded as one of collegiate football’s premier coaches and motivators.
Meyer summarizes his “Above the Line” philosophy in the book as contrasting with “below-the-line behavior” which is impulsive, on autopilot and resistant.
On the other hand, behavior that is above the line is the practice of true leaders and successful people. Above the Line, Meyer writes, is “intentional, on purpose and skillful.” It is about control and accountability.
It is the enemy of what Meyer calls BCD: blame, complain, defend.
Hamilton students read the book together and discussed its themes in a series of meetings at Miami. Then the students were assigned the task of incorporating the book’s teachings into mini-class lessons to better expose and instruct their classmates.
The lessons from Meyer’s book aren’t limited to football or even sports, said Wilhelm, “but could be also be adapted and implemented in other organizations.”