“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
“… in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” These words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ring strongly in my head recently and in this very moment as I am writing this. And this will live with me as one of my key principles in life, ‘No person should ever be judged – we shouldn’t even be judging anyone in the first place – by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.‘
Change must come from each and every one of us … and very importantly also, through the daily education of our young ones. However, we can preach all we want to the young ones, as long as we are showing otherwise, they will not do what we have preached; very simply put, “Why should I be doing that which you are asking me to do when you yourself are not doing it?”
Thus, the reason why I said that ‘Change must come from each and every one of us.’ In order to do that, shouldn’t we be watching our thoughts? The thoughts will form our actions which will translate to our speeches and the things we do. Purifying the heart with love, understanding, respect, and goodness of people and our actions will be that of love, understanding, respect, and goodness. As we sow, so shall we reap. To be honest, this is not gonna be easy and many of us will fail badly in the first attempt but we’ll get better.
Why should we be doing this? No one wants history to repeat itself; I’m sure you can find, through Google, numerous cases of social unrest in history when there was no racial harmony. Whether we like it or not, this does not affect only us, this goes on to affect our younger generation and for many generations to come.
In actual fact, we not not very different from each other. Today, will be the day we look upon another as the same as we are. Think about it, the person in front of us, could be just another’s grandparent or parent or uncle or aunt or brother or sister or friend …. just as we could be someone’s grandparent or parent or uncle or aunt or brother or sister or friend?
Today, let us join our hands to be part of that change to bring racial harmony to the world starting right there – in our hearts.
Do you also share this dream of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.?
“Good morning,” said a woman as she walked up to the man sitting on the ground.
The man slowly looked up.
This was a woman clearly accustomed to the finer things of life. Her coat was new. She looked like she had never missed a meal in her life.
His first thought was that she wanted to make fun of him, like so many others had done before. “Leave me alone,” he growled.
To his amazement, the woman continued standing.
She was smiling – her even white teeth displayed in dazzling rows. “Are you hungry?” she asked.
“No,” he answered sarcastically. “I’ve just come from dining with the president. Now go away.”
The woman’s smile became even broader. Suddenly the man felt a gentle hand under his arm.
“What are you doing, lady?” the man asked angrily. “I said to leave me alone.”
Just then a policeman came up. “Is there any problem, ma’am?” he asked.
“No problem here, officer,” the woman answered. “I’m just trying to get this man to his feet. Will you help me?”
The officer scratched his head. “That’s old Jack. He’s been a fixture around here for a couple of years. What do you want with him?”
“See that cafeteria over there?” she asked. “I’m going to get him something to eat and get him out of the cold for awhile.”
“Are you crazy, lady?” the homeless man resisted. “I don’t want to go in there!” Then he felt strong hands grab his other arm and lift him up. “Let me go, officer. I didn’t do anything.”
“This is a good deal for you, Jack” the officer answered. “Don’t blow it.”
Finally, and with some difficulty, the woman and the police officer got Jack into the cafeteria and sat him at a table in a remote corner. It was the middle of the morning, so most of the breakfast crowd had already left and the lunch bunch had not yet arrived.
The manager strode across the cafeteria and stood by his table. “What’s going on here, officer?” he asked. “What is all this, is this man in trouble?”
“This lady brought this man in here to be fed,” the policeman answered.
“Not in here!” the manager replied angrily. “Having a person like that here is bad for business.”
Old Jack smiled a toothless grin. “See, lady. I told you so. Now if you’ll let me go. I didn’t want to come here in the first place.”
The woman turned to the cafeteria manager and smiled, “Sir, are you familiar with Eddy and Associates, the banking firm down the street?”
“Of course I am,” the manager answered impatiently. “They hold their weekly meetings in one of my banquet rooms.”
“And do you make a godly amount of money providing food at these weekly meetings?”
“What business is that of yours?”
“I, sir, am Penelope Eddy, president and CEO of the company.”
The woman smiled again. “I thought that might make a difference.” She glanced at the cop who was busy stifling a giggle. “Would you like to join us in a cup of coffee and a meal, officer?”
“No thanks, ma’am,” the officer replied. “I’m on duty.”
“Then, perhaps, a cup of coffee to go?”
“Yes, ma’am. That would be very nice.”
The cafeteria manager turned on his heel, “I’ll get your coffee for you right away, officer.”
The officer watched him walk away. “You certainly put him in his place,” he said.
“That was not my intent. Believe it or not, I have a reason for all this.”
She sat down at the table across from her amazed dinner guest. She stared at him intently, “Jack, do you remember me?”
Old Jack searched her face with his old, rheumy eyes. “I think so – I mean you do look familiar.”
“I’m a little older perhaps,” she said. “Maybe I’ve even filled out more than in my younger days when you worked here, and I came through that very door, cold and hungry.”
“Ma’am?” the officer said questioningly. He couldn’t believe that such a magnificently turned out woman could ever have been hungry.
“I was just out of college,” the woman began. “I had come to the city looking for a job, but I couldn’t find anything. Finally I was down to my last few cents and had been kicked out of my apartment. I walked the streets for days. It was February and I was cold and nearly starving. I saw this place and walked in on the off chance that I could get something to eat.”
Jack lit up with a smile. “Now I remember,” he said. “I was behind the serving counter. You came up and asked me if you could work for something to eat. I said that it was against company policy.”
“I know,” the woman continued. “Then you made me the biggest roast beef sandwich that I had ever seen, gave me a cup of coffee, and told me to go over to a corner table and enjoy it. I was afraid that you would get into trouble. Then, when I looked over and saw you put the price of my food in the cash register, I knew then that everything would be all right.”
“So you started your own business?” Old Jack said.
“I got a job that very afternoon. I worked my way up. Eventually I started my own business that, with the help of God, prospered.” She opened her purse and pulled out a business card. “When you are finished here, I want you to pay a visit to a Mr. Lyons. He’s the personnel director of my company. I’ll go talk to him now and I’m certain he’ll find something for you to do around the office.” She smiled. “I think he might even find the funds to give you a little advance so that you can buy some clothes and get a place to live until you get on your feet. If you ever need anything, my door is always opened to you.”
There were tears in the old man’s eyes. “How can I ever thank you?” he said.
“Don’t thank me,” the woman answered. “To God goes the glory. Thank Jesus. He led me to you.”
Outside the cafeteria, the officer and the woman paused at the entrance before going their separate ways.
“Thank you for all your help, officer,” she said.
“On the contrary, Ms. Eddy,” he answered. “Thank you. I saw a miracle today, something that I will never forget. And thank you for the coffee.”
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Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant? – Henry David Thoreau
A beautifully made video which shows the essence, which all healthcare practitioners should have. As what Henry David Thoreau said, should the healthcare practitioners look through the eyes of their patients, would they have ‘treated’ their patients very differently? I believe so.
I remembered the time when my father was very sick, the ones who were really connected to us were not the ones who merely treated my father but the ones who went through the extra miles to find out what else we needed and to give us advice.
In fact, we could use a lot of empathy in our everyday lives and not only in healthcare or service lines and it should be two-way. We must bear in mind that the waiter/waitress who is serving us in the restaurant, or the cashier who is processing our payments, the strangers who cross our paths – each and everyone of them has a story. It was indeed very wise of Socrates when he said, “Be nicer than necessary to everyone you meet. Everyone is fighting some kind of battle.”
From this moment, whenever we are readied to judge the person in front of us, perhaps … no, then all the more we must get to know the person better. Often time when we dislike something in another, we can be sure that that ‘something’ can be found in us too. You may scream ‘Not True’ all you want. And yet when we calm down and ask ourselves honestly, we do have to admit that that ‘something’, which we dislike in the other person, is also in us.
If only we could stand in the person’s shoes, hear what he or she hears, see what he or she sees, and feel what he or she feels, would we have treated the person differently?
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Wonderful lessons which we can learn from a simple illustration of geese flying in a “V” formation; this is so applicable to us in real life.
Next fall, when you see geese heading South for the Winter, flying along in “V” formation, you might consider what science has discovered as to why they fly that way: as each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in “V” formation the whole flock adds at least 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.
Lesson #1: People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going more quickly and easily because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.
When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird in front.
Lesson #2: If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation with those who are headed the same way we are.
When the Head goose gets tired, it rotates back in the wing and another goose flies point.
Lesson #3: It is sensible to take turns doing demanding jobs with people or with geese flying South.
Geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.
Lesson #4: What do we say when we honk from behind?
Finally, and this is important, when a goose gets sick, or is wounded by gunshots and falls out of formation, two other geese fall out with that goose and follow it down to lend help and protection. They stay with the fallen goose until it is able to fly, or until it dies. Only then do they launch out on their own, or with another formation to catch up with their group.
Lesson #5: IF WE HAVE THE SENSE OF A GOOSE, WE WILL STAND BY EACH OTHER LIKE THAT.
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