Sunday, March 25, 2012

Pep Talk: "Pulling Others Together"

It’s a warm Saturday afternoon, the Mile High City is starting to see, at least from the trees, new birth. Golf and NCAA basketball are on the tube, Denver’s bone-dry March is in the headlines. So too, President Barack Obama’s comments about the recent death, and cries of racism, of a Florida teenager.

Obama said: “I can only imagine what these parents are going through. And I think every parent in America should understand why it’s absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this and that everybody pulls together - federal, state and local - to figure out exactly how this tragedy happened.”

First, let me, as a parent of two marvelous human beings now 22 and 15 respectively, say heartfelt prayers to the parents and family of an unarmed 17-year-old boy. And, until the investigation is complete, we should withhold judgement of a 28-year-old man who pulled the trigger, he says in self defense after being threatened. But this Pep Talk was inspired by something else in the Democrat’s comments: his plea that “everybody pulls together.”

We know the benefits, right? When a group - home, work and elsewhere - decides to put their individual agendas aside and pull together? My buddy, Billy Mac from Hackensack, would call that “being yoked.” The power of unity of spirit. It has transformed families, teams, schools and other noble stuff. Here’s an example. Many years ago, my son attended a Denver parochial school. He had, in third grade, a male teacher. At that time a rarity: men teaching parochial elementary school.

This fine young man left after just two years. Tearfully, he told me, “Mark, I love it here but I’m making $19,000 a year and have an opportunity to go to a public school and double my income.” Let the record show, I had visited this dude’s neighborhood studio apartment. He had a single-bed mattress over in the corner and called it “the bedroom.” He lived simply.

Well, the realization that our children were losing quality teachers inspired a group of Good Shepherd parents to start a foundation in support of teachers. Our mission was to attract and retain quality educators and “care for them.” Well, it’s been a pretty darn good success since it’s inception. At least for me, it’s an example of what happens when those of like-mind rally around each other and, in healthy and productive ways, try and become superior to their former selves. You’ve been part of moments like that, right?
They sure warm the marrow don’t they?

In reading the Saturday March 24, 2012 Denver Post there were many stories describing the challenges before us as communities - local, state, national and global. The question becomes, where might our time, talents and treasures make a difference in changing things for the better?

We all have our unique gifts. A second question becomes, are we utilizing those gifts in pulling others together in ways honoring, nurturing and adding value to communities we serve?

Perhaps it’s a question for one of those late night, or early morning, chats we have with self while staring into the bathroom mirror. If you like the answer, keep it up. If the answer doesn’t please you, do something this week to change it.

Have a good week!

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