Bird Droppings October 22, 2009
The measure of a man
I was exhausted physically, emotionally and mentally as I walked in the door at our house last night and directly headed to bed. It had been a long day to say the least. So many various things going on that could drain a person, with activities at school and in life that require the totality of my being and I am getting far too old for this. I had been taking pictures literally all day and my right arm was numb from holding the camera and flash unit. My arthritis in my shoulder was not subsiding with a good dose of Advil. I left school around nine o’clock after watching and photographing our annual homecoming Mr. LHS contest. A combination of talent and humor the audience was brought to tears laughing several times with the antics of our students. I was proud to be a teacher as I sat and watched the show and looked across the crowd at student some of whom I have known since kindergarten.
“The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.” Samuel Johnson
As I think back to previous writings, several times I have pulled this quote out the past eight or nine years and each time it offers a bit more to me. It is a good one, a philosophy of life that truly presents a universal truth in a sense. When social status has no significance and means nothing to someone to a degree they will not let that be an issue in life nor is it simply treating people as you would like to be treated. This statement however may sound familiar to many and has been used by literally every major religion in one form or another. This philosophy is so often running through the religious guidelines and canons. I find that to be an interesting concept as so often we go to war over religious ideology down through history.
“Ah, when to the heart of man was it ever less than treason to go with the drift of things to yield with a grace to reason and bow and accept at the end of a love or a season.” Robert Frost
“We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
It is far too often we sit back seeing and knowing what is right but not saying anything. We know we need to treat people differently than we do and just cannot seem to take that step and climb up and do it. Each day I see and hear people profess to a creed and yet never even attempt to live that way. I found it interesting as I mentioned a few droppings back where Dr. Ed Dobson a former CEO and founder of Moral Majority in walking the way of Jesus for a year changed his life’s philosophy and outlook. He left the ultra conservative views and in the last presidential election voted for Barrack Obama because he felt his views more emphasized what the true meaning of his faith was about.
I looked up at that first quote today and remembered a comment thrown at me only a day or so ago. I questioned the greed of Wall Street and Health Insurance executives and was literally chastised for being too socialist. I just found humor in the fact the discussion started on increased health insurance costs. I am not a mathematician but a twenty percent increase in salaries and also in cost of insurance kind of seems too coincidental.
“To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest. It is easy enough to be friendly to one’s friends. But to befriend the one who regards himself as your enemy is the quintessence of true religion. The other is mere business. The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” Mahatma Gandhi
As I sit thinking reading through various writers and thinkers I always seem drawn to Gandhi, a simple man who in his simpleness changed a nation. From his thoughts sprang new ideas and determination with Martin Luther King Jr. and his nonviolent approach to Civil Rights. I can recall vividly images of people in protest being beaten with night sticks and the news coverage of the search for Civil Rights activists slain and buried in a construction site by Klu Klux Clan members. That was less than fifty years ago in our country.
“I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. “ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
I have been trying for this school year to come up with something along that line in terms of how can we judge mankind that is to truly judge man. If we can devoid ourselves of senses sight hearing and smell can we judge a man, purely on character.
“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. – When we do the best we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another.” Helen Keller
I have always felt strongly that of all the famous people I have read about perhaps today’s youth need to read more about this remarkable woman. I recall just a few weeks back in advisement when no one knew who she was out of a group of twenty eleventh graders. She stood out among people and was recognized as a great individual of character and will beyond the fact she had overcome so many obstacles.
Helen Keller spoke in front of the powers of the world in her time and yet never saw them or heard them. For those of you who do not know Helen Keller, at a very young age due to illness, she lost her sight and hearing. Her life was later described in detail in a book and later a movie, The Miracle Worker. Essentially the story goes how a teacher would not give into a child who without sight or hearing had basically become a spoiled uncontrollable brat. It was with that great effort of teaching a great mind was opened to the world and, “we can never know what miracle is wrought in our life, (or more importantly) or in the life of another.”
So many things on my mind and in my thoughts today as I venture out into the world. I am behind where I like to be probably due to leaving my computer at school last night in an effort to head home. Take a moment this morning and review where you are in time in life and step forward boldly offer a hand up if needed and do not be afraid to ask for that hand if you need it. Keep all in harms way on your mind and in your hearts.
Frank Bird Ed.S. D.D.
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