Pay Now or Pay Later

Todd R. Farmer


This paper will describe leadership styles and present a review of the pertinent literature to document and examine how the social institution of the school and transformational leadership style may shape beliefs about health, physical education, and fitness. In the 1970’s a FRAM oil-filter commercial showed a mechanic holding an inexpensive oil filter and then pointing to an expensive engine repair job, with a tag line “Pay Me Now or Pay Me Later” (Cone, 2004). This slogan reflects the attitude of the health and physical education profession today. Opportunities are offered in school physical education programs that lead to good health to promote each student’s optimum physical, mental, emotional and social development, but the “society seems more interested in pursuing the expensive engine repair” (Cone, 2004). The health and physical education profession can make the difference regarding their potential impact, but their potential impact must be acknowledged. Even though some reports and findings have warned about of the imminent costs of inactivity, American society is slow to change, and Americans are slow to learn this lesson (Cone, 2004). America’s schools and society have failed to benefit fully from systems of health and physical education that are already in place. Strong, effective leadership, transformational leadership, in the 21st century is necessary to keep physical education in schools at all levels for the health and development of young people, the American adults of tomorrow (Dundon & Pattakos, 2001; Kim, 2002).

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