Thursday, December 30, 2010
In 1953 reporters gathered at a Chicago railway station waiting to meet the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize winner.
He was a big man, well over six feet tall, with bushy hair and a large mustache.
Reporters were excited to see him and expressed what an honor it was to meet him. Cameras were flashing, compliments were being expressed when, looking beyond the adulation, the visitor saw an elderly black woman struggling to carry her two large suitcases.
"Excuse me," he said as he went to the aid of this woman. Picking up her cases, he escorted her to a bus and then apologized to the reporters for keeping them waiting.
The man was Dr. Albert Schweitzer, the famous missionary-doctor who had invested his life helping poor and sick people in Africa.
A member of the reception committee remarked to one of the reporters, "That's the first time I ever saw a sermon walking." The measure of any man or woman is not their name, nor their fame, nor what they say, but what they do.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
My little girl is something. She took her whole allowance from this week, $5, and put it in an envelope along with a letter for the ASPCA. She had me send it off, and I’m hoping for a good response. Here’s a copy of her letter:
In case you can’t read it, here is the text:
October 11, 2010
Hi ASPCA, my name is Kendall. I am Atieh’s daughter. I love animals. I donated the money. Using my allowance. I can give you money. I have 17 animals. My Mom owns and boards nine horses. It is 6:52 and four are standing out my window. They are Jemini, Tina, Reo, and Zarha. The other horses are Starlight, Yurecka, Eemler, Cowboy, and Rain. I have three dogs. Deuce, Oscer, and Kolhy. Three cats: Jewl, Nero, and Milky Way. Jewel and Nero are barn cats. Two guinea pigs: Tiffany and Trixy. OK all my animals done. Now time to learn about me. I love animals more than anything. My favorite animal is the wolf. My favorite domestic animal is the German Sheperd. I love them because they were bred with wolves. So next time you ship to my Mom, write a letter about yourself. Thanks you!
Your New Friend,
Thursday, September 30, 2010
I have been to quite a few SQL Saturdays. This year I have been to 5 and will go to 2 more, and next year I’ll do a few and perhaps run my own events.
One of the things that I’ve noticed from attendees is they often work at local companies, governments, with a common theme: a lack of training dollars.
However these people take a Saturday away from their families, some driving for hours (I’ve seen up to a 6 hour drive) to go and learn something. To go improve their skills, and make the investment in their career.
It should pay back for them, but I’m not sure that I would have made that investment when I was younger. It certainly makes me want to deliver more training, and do more to help others.
And work on my own career.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
A story shared by the Scoutmaster from Delaney’s Boy Scout troop inspired me this morning. It’s the way that I would love to see more people behave.
The Sack Lunches
I put my carry-on in the luggage compartment and sat down in my assigned seat. It was going to be a long flight. 'I'm glad I have a good book to read. Perhaps I will get a short nap,' I thought.
Just before take-off, a line of soldiers came down the aisle and filled all the vacant seats, totally surrounding me. I decided to start a conversation.
‘Where are you headed?' I asked the soldier seated nearest to me. 'Petawawa. We'll be there for two weeks for special training, and then we're being deployed to Afghanistan.
After flying for about an hour, an announcement was made that sack lunches were available for five dollars. It would be several hours before we reached the east, and I quickly decided a lunch would help pass the time...
As I reached for my wallet, I overheard a soldier ask his buddy if he planned to buy lunch. 'No, that seems like a lot of money for just a sack lunch. Probably wouldn't be worth five bucks. I'll wait till we get to base.'
His friend agreed.
I looked around at the other soldiers. None were buying lunch. I walked to the back of the plane and handed the flight attendant a fifty dollar bill. 'Take a lunch to all those soldiers.' She grabbed my arms and squeezed tightly. Her eyes wet with tears, she thanked me. 'My son was a soldier in Iraq ; it's almost like you are doing it for him.'
Picking up ten sacks, she headed up the aisle to where the soldiers were seated. She stopped at my seat and asked, 'Which do you like best - beef or chicken?' 'Chicken,' I replied, wondering why she asked. She turned and went to the front of plane, returning a minute later with a dinner plate from first class.
'This is your thanks..'
After we finished eating, I went again to the back of the plane, heading for the rest room. A man stopped me. 'I saw what you did. I want to be part of it. Here, take this.' He handed me twenty-five dollars.
Soon after I returned to my seat, I saw the Flight Captain coming down the aisle, looking at the aisle numbers as he walked, I hoped he was not looking for me, but noticed he was looking at the numbers only on my side of the plane. When he got to my row he stopped, smiled, held out his hand and said, 'I want to shake your hand.' Quickly unfastening my seatbelt I stood and took the Captain's hand. With a booming voice he said, 'I was a soldier and I was a military pilot. Once, someone bought me a lunch. It was an act of kindness I never forgot.' I was embarrassed when applause was heard from all of the passengers.
Later I walked to the front of the plane so I could stretch my legs. A man who was seated about six rows in front of me reached out his hand, wanting to shake mine. He left another twenty-five dollars in my palm.
When we landed I gathered my belongings and started to deplane. Waiting just inside the airplane door was a man who stopped me, put something in my shirt pocket, turned, and walked away without saying a word. Another twenty-five dollars!
Upon entering the terminal, I saw the soldiers gathering for their trip to the base. I walked over to them and handed them seventy-five dollars. 'It will take you some time to reach the base.. It will be about time for a sandwich. God Bless You.'
Ten young men left that flight feeling the love and respect of their fellow travelers.
As I walked briskly to my car, I whispered a prayer for their safe return. These soldiers were giving their all for our country. I could only give them a couple of meals. It seemed so little...
A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to 'The United States of America ' for an amount of 'up to and including my life.'
That is Honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand it.'
Sunday, August 29, 2010
$1.86 is what it took to inspire me recently.
I got the mail one day after school and was heading home with it. Kendall was in the car with me, and for some reason wanted to know what we had. A mix of bills and junk mail, but one envelope with ASPCA written on it caught her eye.
She grabbed it, opened it, and was asking what it was for. I explained this was a way that the organization raised money to care for animals and lots of groups do this. She kept the envelope and its contents and disappeared when we got home.
She apparently raided her purse, grabbing out her change. She’d just spent some allowance on a few stuffed animals, and had a little bit of money left. She packed it up in the envelope, and with a generous application of tape all over, sealed it up.
She was happy to help the animals, and a couple days later I had her put it in the mailbox, sending her donation off.
I’m proud of her, and it’s refreshing to see my kids thinking of something more than just the next toy they want. It’s an inspiration to think beyond ourselves.
Friday, August 6, 2010
Monday, June 14, 2010
The Elizabeth Food Bank is a resource that is in the local town near me. It’s near the Scout troop that my son is a part of and we have volunteered there for some time.
I’m amazed by the couple that run it, from the local church, it’s an older retired couple that manage the donations, finances, and distribution of food twice a week, year round, to help the local community. They have other volunteers, but even on the days we’ve gone and they have been “off”, they’ve often stopped by.
It’s heartening to see people like that, giving of themselves to help others. That’s a cause that inspires me, and makes me want to help more in the future.
Monday, May 3, 2010
I hadn’t heard about the bomb scare this past weekend in NYC until late last night. I saw the story and investigation continuing this morning. What’s interesting to me, and inspiring, is how many people have been helping, and how quickly there is information coming in.
And how someone stepped up and reported something immediately, instead of walking away.
My guess is the police field calls like this regularly. I’m not sure about constantly, but probably regularly. However it’s good that people in the US are still looking to protect others, and they do report things like this.
Inspires me to keep my eyes open, even as I’m sad that we need to.
Friday, March 12, 2010
However I have a few thoughts on items that have come up lately and I'll try to get some things down here soon.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
I was involved in scouting as a kid, and in the last decade, with all three of my kids. I’ve volunteered to help out in various ways, though I haven’t usually officially held positions in the troops/packs since we’re so busy and my wife travels, sometimes unexpectedly. As a result, I haven’t wanted to let anyone down, but I’ve tried to help out as often as I could.
I look at the Scout leaders that my kids have now, and the efforts they go to in creating a program that motivates, excites, and pushes the kids, I’m amazed. And inspired. The Dutch Oven cooking I’ve been trying over the last month is based on the tremendous efforts I saw the Dads at the cook-off going to last fall.
I also look back at our Girl Scout leader. My daughter’s had 3 in 3 years, but this last one is great. She really goes out of her way to keep the girls interested and finds new things for them to do. I was out of town recently for the Powder Puff Derby, but I had the nanny take my daughter, knowing that our scout leader would ensure that she had a good time. And she did.
I don’t agree with all the philosophies and ideas behinds scouts, but I do appreciate, and am inspired by, the people the volunteer at the local level.