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fore-feet being tied

Choose to say no
together he was
drowned. “That
will teach you,” said
an old man who had
followed them:
“Please all, and you
will please none.”
This story teaches us that there are
times when we should choose to
say “No!”
We have been regularly writing in
this wellbeing series that life is all
about choices we consciously make
and one of the important choices is
to say “Yes” or “No”. The story of
the man, boy and their donkey makes
us understand that they could have
said “No” to the negative or thought-
less remarks made by people who
did not really matter. They trusted all
that was said without personal criti-
cal thinking. It is important to learn
to say “No” when needed.

“Every time you say Jesus was in the desert for forty days

M
any of us would have at and forty nights to prepare himself
some time or the other read
yes to something that with prayer and fasting for his min-
or listened to the story of a is unimportant, you say istry. He was tempted by the evil
man, his son and their donkey. A man no to something that is one to go beyond his Father’s love
and his son were once going with and act like God. He was tempted to
their donkey to the market. As they important.” make use of his powers to satisfy his
were walking, a countryman passed - Robin Sharma own hunger, his own choice to fast
them and said: “You fools, what is a for the Kingdom and use his divine
donkey for, but to ride upon?” So the and asked what they were scoffing at. power for a display of spectacular
man put the boy on the donkey and The men said: “Aren’t you ashamed events to satisfy the greed and super-
they went on their way. But soon they of yourself for overloading that poor ficial needs of onlookers. Jesus says
passed a group of men, one of whom donkey with you and your hulk- an emphatic “NO!” He was ready to
said: “See that lazy youngster; he lets ing son?” The man and boy got off follow the path of love and sacrifice.
his father walk while he rides.” So the and tried to think what to do. They We also see how the Pharisees de-
man ordered his boy to get off, and thought and they thought, till at last manded a heavenly sign (a miracle)
got on himself. But they hadn’t gone they cut down a pole, tied the don- from Jesus and He said, “Truly, I say
far when they passed two women, one key’s feet to it, and raised the pole to you, no sign shall be given to this
of whom said to the other: “Shame on and the donkey to their shoulders. people.” Jesus teaches us to say “no”
that lazy lout to let his poor little son They went along amid the laughter when needed.
trudge along.” Well, the man didn’t of all who met them till they came
know what to do, but at last he asked to Market Bridge, when the donkey, First, we have to learn to say “no” to
his son to sit with him on the donkey. getting one of his feet loose, kicked ourselves. There is a strange sickness
out and caused the boy to drop his called Akrasia (or acrasia - an ancient
By this time they had come to the
town, and the passers-by began to jeer end of the pole. In the struggle the Greek word κρασία). It is the state of
and point at them. The man stopped donkey fell over the bridge, and his acting against one’s better judgment.
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The condition in which while knowing really know if it’s true or not. Now
what it would be best to do, one does let’s try the second filter, the filter
something else. In other words we are of goodness. Is what you are about
not able to say ‘no’ to ourselves. For to tell me about my friend some-
example, I know I have to reduce my thing good?” “No, on the contrary, it
weight and yet I overeat and often is bad.”
eat junk food. I am killing myself. I
“So,” Socrates continued, “you want
have to learn to say no to my body.
to tell me something bad about him,
If you don’t want to live in debt and
but you’re not certain it’s true. You
misery you have to learn to say ‘no’
may still pass the test though, because
to the latest I-phone or other funky
there’s one filter left: the filter of use-
gadgets which many of your friends
fulness. Is what you want to tell me
may be possessing. If you want to
about my friend going to be useful
succeed in life you have to learn to
to me?” “No, not really.” replied the
say ‘no’ to laziness, late rising or just
man. “Well,” concluded. Socrates, if
spending a lot of time relaxing. If you
what you want to tell me is neither
want your marriage to last you have
true, nor good, and not even useful to
to learn to say no to certain words
me, why tell it to me at all.”
you feel like using in a moment of
anger. If you have to succeed in your Socrates had a wonderful way of say-
exams you have to learn to say ‘no’ ing ‘no’. This is an important value
to the exciting cricket match being There is no choice really if you have we have to teach our young people.
telecasted on television. to choose between a thrilling movie Youth are easily influenced by the
and going to Church for mass on a media and by the peer group. History
Robin Sharma, the author of a
Sunday. We have to learn to say no is replete with incidents that speak
bestseller, ‘The monk who sold his
to groups that just gather together to of how young minds have been so
Ferrari’, says, “Every time you say
gossip or to spread negativity and strongly influenced by other young
yes to something that is unimportant,
cynicism. We have to say no when minds. Many young people do not
you say no to something that is
people deliberately spoil the names have the power to say “No”. The invi-
important.” We have to become good
of other people. There is a beautiful tation to smoke or consume alcohol,
in saying ‘no’. It is not just saying no
story attributed to Socrates, entitled to try drugs just for fun, to cut classes
for everything in life. The secret lies
‘the Triple Filter Test’. and go for movies on a regular basis
in living a conscious life and setting
and to try out experiences that leave
priorities. It is important to set value One day a man met Socrates, the
traumatic imprints on their mind, are
based priorities. We say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ great philosopher and said, “Do you
everyday happenings. We have to
based on these value based priorities. know what I just heard about one of
help young people set their priori-
I have a friend who can never say no your friends?” “Hold on a minute,”
ties and dreams and do some critical
to anyone who comes to his office. He Socrates replied. “Before telling me
thinking regarding media and peer
takes upon himself all the work thrust anything, I’d like you to pass a little
group. It is the age when a person
on him by others (because of their test. It’s called the Triple Filter Test.”
can be easily led astray. Parents and
own laziness or lack of creativity). “Triple filter?” asked the man. “That’s
teachers have the important duty of
He tries to please everyone and in the right,” Socrates continued.
helping young people to discern and
end his own life priorities go haywire.
“Before you talk to me about my to live a conscious, value based life.
At a certain point of time he was not
friend, it might be a good idea to take
able to do the most important things The gospels are full of positive events
a moment and filter what you’re going
in life. and sayings of Christ, we can call
to say. That’s why I call it the triple
them the ‘yes’ aspects but there are
If a friend of yours invites you for filter test. The first filter is Truth. Are
times when Jesus said a firm ‘no’. We
a late evening get-together and it you absolutely sure that what you are
can also pattern our life in keeping
is also your son’s birthday party at about to tell me is true?” “No,” the
with the Gospel values.
home, you have to say a firm ‘no’ to man said, “actually I just heard about
your friends. This is the meaning of it and wanted to tell it to you” “All Joe Andrew sdb
working with value based priorities. right,” said Socrates. “So you don’t joeandrewsdb@hotmail.com
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W
e are created for happiness habit can help us to have fun, break the Some were mesmer-
and peace. But as life evolves routine, help us to smile and this in turn ized by the rainfall.
and as we progress, our becomes a happy memory. Memories of They got lost in the
problems also increase and so do our happy moments have an important role sound and sight of
worries. Wellbeing calls for choices. We to play in our lives. They reconstruct our the heavens wash-
can consciously choose to live a positive lives and they have the power to inject ing away the dirt and
life or go after a negative life. fresh energy and enthusiasm when we dust of the world.
are bored or tired of living. I would like Memories of running,
One of the choices we can easily make is to share with you this story forwarded to
to live ordinary events in an extraordinary splashing as carefree as a child, came
me via e-mail. as a welcome reprieve from the worries
way. We have the freedom to experiment
and to experience newness. Modern day A little girl had been shopping with her of everyday.
life in a certain way chains us to habits, mom in Target. She was 6 years old, The little voice was sweet as it broke
strict timeframes and monotonous living. beautiful red haired, freckle faced image the hypnotic trance they were all caught
We become automated beings. This of innocence. It was raining outside. The in, “Mom let’s run through the rain,”
results in boredom and we run the risk of kind of rain that gushes over the top of she said.
losing the meaning of our existence. rain gutters, so much in a hurry to hit
the earth. People stood there under the “What?” mom exclaimed. “Let’s run
One of the outcomes of a positive life is awning and just inside the door of the through the rain!” she repeated.
to break free and to break the monotony Target. Everyone waited, some patiently, “No, honey. We’ll wait until it slows down
of daily life and do something we normally others irritated because nature messed a bit,” mom replied.
never do or think of doing. This positive up their hurried day.
This young child waited about another

Let’s Run minute and repeated: “Mom, let’s run


through the rain!”
“We’ll get soaked if we do,” mom said.

Through the Rain


“No, we won’t, mom. That’s not what
you said this morning,” the young girl
said as she tugged at her mom’s arm.
“This morning? When did I say we could
run through the rain and not get wet?”
“‘Don’t you remember? When you were
talking to Daddy about his cancer, you
said, ‘If God can get us through this, he
can get us through anything’!”
The entire crowd stopped dead silent.
There was complete silence except for
the sound of the rain. No one came or
left in the next few minutes. The little
girl’s mother paused and thought for a
moment about what she would say. Now
some would laugh it off and scold her
for being silly. Some might even ignore
what was said. But this was a moment of
affirmation in a young child’s life. A time
when innocent trust can be nurtured so
that it will bloom into faith. “Honey, you
are absolutely right. Let’s run through
the rain. If God wants, let’s get wet, well
maybe we just needed washing,” she
said. Then off they ran.
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their children to Him. The disciples (let an inspiring and interesting, hobby. If
We do the same things us keep in mind a culture two thousand you have never tried cooking, you could
years ago that did not greatly respect
day after day and week women and children) in order to allow
try cooking something different. You
could try to live without the television for
after week. We have to Jesus to rest tried their best to send one day.
them away. The gospels say that Jesus
plan to break free and on noticing this, was very angry. Jesus
We have to take time off to create
find time to do what is beautiful memories. A few years later
then took the children in his arms and
we will think of the walk with our child
blessed them. This is one of the most
different, just funny or beautiful scenes in the gospels. Jesus,
on the beach running after sea crabs as
the unthinkable. they jump into the holes they have made.
God incarnate, finds time to play with
We could think of the beautiful walk with
children. Jesus often found time to dine
the ones very close to us. The picnics
The rest of them stood watching, smiling with tax collectors and sinners. This often
we enjoyed, the fun we had together as a
and laughing as they darted past the cars turned out to be a moment of conversion
family, the train journeys, the walk in the
and yes, through the puddles. They held for them.
park, the pranks and wild fun.
their shopping bags over their heads just It is good to stroke a cat if you have never
in case. They got soaked. But they were There are families that have very
done it before. If you always take your
followed by a few who screamed and interesting family rituals. I was with an
car to your place of work take the bus for
laughed like children all the way to their Italian family on April 22, Earth Day. On
a change. You will also get to know how
cars. They all needed some washing. that day they did not use their electric
much people suffer. How about sleeping
lights or television. They were using
Today more than ever, we tend to live life on the terrace one night and do some
candles. There are others who often use
like clocks or computers. This obviously star gazing before you sleep. You could
the cycle in order to keep our mother
results in monotony and boredom. The talk to a poor person or an elderly person
earth a little less polluted. There is a
type of jobs or responsibilities that if you have never found the time to do it
family that distributes bread and curry
people have force them to live in ways before. You could play with children. You
to the poor of the neighbourhood on
that are akin to the ticking of a clock. could go for a walk in the forest or climb
Friday evenings. There are families that
We do the same things day after day a mountain. You could do some manual
clean the cemetery before All Souls day
and week after week. We have to plan work for a change. Gardening could be
(not just the tomb of their dear ones).
to break free and find time to do what is
I just heard of a young man who gave
different, just funny or the unthinkable.
away his sandals to a poor boy who was
God shows us the way. He could have
We have to take time selling some simple things at the road
lived his solitude in heaven. But He broke off to create beautiful signal under the hot sun. A friend of
the silence, the solitude. He became one mine did not want gifts for her wedding
like us. He walked and talked with us. He
memories. A few years but asked the guests to bring cash for the
smiled and He wept. Can one think of a later we will think of the poor children in India and Madagascar.
greater adventure than this? Remember The list is endless.
the movie “City of Angels’ with Nicholas
walk with our child on the
Circumstances or people can take away
Cage and Meg Ryan? Seth, an angel beach running after sea our material possessions, they can take
watching over Los Angeles, begins
finding his job difficult as he falls in love
crabs as they jump into away our money, and they can take away
our health. But no one can ever take away
with Maggie, a beautiful heart surgeon. the holes they have made. our precious memories. So, don’t forget
This makes Seth want to become human
so he can feel, smell, and love Maggie.
The picnics we enjoyed, to make time and take the opportunities
to make memories everyday. To
It is a touching story of an angel who the fun we had together everything there is a season and a time
wanted to do something very different.
as a family, the train to every purpose under heaven. Take
Jesus was one day preaching in the the time to live! Keep in touch with your
Province of Judea, beyond the Jordan
journeys, the walk in the friends, you never know when you’ll need
River and at a certain point He sits down park, the pranks them. I hope you will take the time to run
to take some rest. The mothers from through the rain.
the surrounding villages begin to bring
and wild fun. Joe Andrew sdb
joeandrewsdb@hotmail.com
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O
ne of the most important and either your purpose or your problems, dirt and mud into the
realistic truths about living is God’s power or your weakness, Christ well to bury the animal
that there is no life without pain, or your circumstances. It’s your choice.” alive. At first, the
suffering, loss, struggle and sacrifice. I am sure that most of you would have donkey realized what
Once we understand and accept this read the inspiring story of the farmer’s was happening and
important truth about life, we can reduce donkey. One day a farmer’s donkey fell cried horribly.
a lot of stress and discouragement in our into a well. The animal cried miserably Then, to everyone’s
day to day life. The dictionary defines for hours as the farmer tried to figure out amazement, he became quiet. A few
discouragement as follows; “a feeling what to do. He consulted the people of shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked
of despair in the face of obstacles; or a his village and finally they decided that into the well and was astonished to see a
state of distraught and loss of sense of the animal was old and it could die in miracle taking place. With every shovel of
enthusiasm, drive or courage.” When the process of being saved. At the same dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing
we accept the fact that life is a package time they could not leave the animal something astonishing. He would shake it
of joys and sorrows, high points and to die slowly. They decided that mercy off and take a step up. As the farmer’s
low, success and disappointment, killing was the only solution and the well neighbours continued to shovel dirt on
ecstasy and pain, we learn to overcome needed to be covered up anyway. They top of the animal, he would shake it off
discouragement and a feeling of despair all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone

Drive your blues away


was amazed as the donkey stepped up
over the edge of the well and trotted off!
Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all
“You have a choice of what you’re going to focus on: either your kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of
the well is to shake it off and take a step
purpose or your problems, God’s power or your weakness, Christ up. Each of our troubles is a stepping-
or your circumstances. It’s your choice.” stone. We can get out of the deepest

or desolation; or in the words of popular


Today he is hailed as
musicians ‘drive away or sing away or a great economist,
rock away our blues’. lawyer, educationist,
Momentary bouts of discouragement politician, champion
and despair are natural since life has its
share of struggle and pain. But wellbeing
of human rights and
calls for the acceptance of this fact and emancipator of millions
hence to make the choice of fighting of downtrodden
discouragement.
people. Imagine the
As I have often repeated in these fate of India if he had
wellbeing articles - life is all about choices
and one of the choices we have to make become a victim of
is to fight discouragement. It could discouragement and
become a way of life if we are not careful. despair.
This momentary feeling can become our
attitude. Discouragement could become
our choice.
Rick Warren says: “If you’re discouraged,
that’s your choice. You have chosen
to be discouraged. Discouragement is
always a choice. It comes from thinking
discouraging thoughts-and you can
change your thoughts any time. You have
a choice of what you’re going to focus on:
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wells just by not stopping, never giving his death on the cross
up! Shake it off and take a step up! became the greatest
sign of love and hope
There are stories of so many great leaders
for mankind. Jesus
that teach us the importance of not
must have been very
falling into the trap of discouragement.
discouraged when
Life beckons us to face challenges. Dr
the people he had
Ambedkar’s childhood dream to go to
so lovingly served
school was shattered when his teacher
had turned against
asked him to sit outside the classroom.
him. But he took up
He had to carry a gunny sack everyday to
his cross as a sign
sit outside since he was from a low caste.
that He still loved
Untouchable children were segregated
them. The cross
and given no attention or assistance from
became a sign of
the teachers. They were not allowed to
faith, compassion
sit inside the class. Even if they needed
and victory. He
to drink water somebody from a higher
chose to fight
caste would have to pour that water
from a height as they were not allowed discouragement
to touch either the water or the vessel and taught us
that contained it. This task was usually the meaning of
performed for the young Ambedkar by love and suffering.
the school peon, and if he could not be Helen Keller wisely
found Ambedkar went without water. All What if young Ludwig had been said, “The struggle of
this did not deter Ambedkar. He proved discouraged by this teacher? life is one of our greatest blessings. It
to the world that untouchability is a makes us patient, sensitive, and Godlike.
When Thomas Edison was a young boy, It teaches us that although the world
figment of the mind. He later went to the his teachers said he was so stupid he
United States to complete his Ph. D. is full of suffering, it is also full of the
could never learn anything. He once said, overcoming of it.”
Upon India’s independence on August “I remember I used to never be able to
15, 1947, the new Congress-led get along at school. I was al¬ways at When Paul was in prison, he wrote to
government invited Ambedkar to serve as the foot of my class...my father thought the Philippian Christians, “But I want you
the nation’s first law minister. On August I was stupid, and I almost decided that to know, brethren, that the things which
29, Ambedkar was appointed chairman I was a dunce.” What if young Thomas happened to me have actually turned
of the Constitution Drafting Committee had been discouraged by his teachers? out for the furtherance of the gospel.”
and given the task of drafting free India’s A newspaper editor once fired Walt (Phil. 1:12). While most of us would have
new Constitution. He bravely fought Disney because he was thought to have focused on the “defeat” (being in prison
against great odds and became one of no “good ideas.” Caruso was told by one even though he was innocent), Paul was
the founding fathers of our country, the music teacher, “You can’t sing. You have able to see what God was doing in his life.
backbone of our Constitutions. Today he no voice at all.” A man once told a sad looking passerby
is hailed as a great economist, lawyer, “I love the look of spring skies.” The
What if these people had listened and
educationist, politician, champion of sad person looked up and saw a lot of
become discouraged? Where would our
human rights and emancipator of millions clouds. It was a cloudy day and he said,
world be without the music of Beethoven,
of downtrodden people. Imagine the fate “It is far from spring, my friend. Summer
or the ideas of Ambedkar, Albert Einstein
of India if he had become a victim of is nearing the end and we still have winter
and Thomas Edison? As Oscar Levant has
discouragement and despair. ahead.” “Oh, I understand,” the other
accurately said, “It’s not what you are,
It is said that Albert Einstein could not speak it’s what you don’t become that hurts.” man replied and he continued, “I hope
until he was four years old and did not read one day you’ll see spring in everything.”
Jesus worked miracles, cured the sick, And he walked away with a smile. I
until he was seven. His parents and teachers
gave people bread, forgave sinners, was hope all of us will be able to see spring
worried about his mental ability.
close to people and yet at the end of it in everything.
Beethoven’s music teacher said about all, He was crucified on a cross. It may Joe Andrew sdb
him, “As a composer he is hopeless.” seem paradoxical but the truth is that joeandrewsdb@hotmail.com
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T
he following incident is reported still have one place in the First Class.” just witnessed, stood
to have taken place on a Before the woman could say anything, up and applauded the
British Airways flight between the hostess continued. “It is unusual crew of the aircraft.
Johannesburg (South Africa) and for our company to permit someone The moral of the story
London. from Economy Class to sit in First Class. is that arrogance does
A white woman, about 50 years old, However, given the circumstances, the not always put you on
was seated next to a native African. captain feels that it would be scandalous a pedestal and that
Very disturbed by this, she called the to make someone sit next to someone humility and respect for
air hostess. “You obviously do not see so disgusting.” She turned to the African others is still a value that is cherished.
it then?” she asked. “You placed me next and said, “Therefore, Sir, if you would
We are living in a society that encourages
to a black man. I did not agree to sit like to, please collect your hand luggage,
raw competition, unbridled consumerism
next to someone from such a repugnant a seat awaits you in the First Class.”
and a craving for material possessions. A
group. Give me an alternative seat.” “Be At that moment, the other passengers, natural outcome of this phenomenon is
calm please,” the hostess replied. who had been shocked by what they had arrogance, aggressiveness and the need

Humility-the forgotten virtue


“Almost all the places on this flight are to push forward our external selves. We
taken. I will go to see if another place is Humility is actually have to win at the cost of the failure
available.” and fear of others. The overemphasis
founded on inner on personal fulfillment, self-confidence
The hostess went away and then came
back a few minutes later. “Madam, just as I strength. Once I am and self glory by psychologists and
new age gurus could lead to selfishness
thought, there are no other available seats confident of my and pride. The famous novel ‘The
in Economy Class. I spoke to the captain
and he informed me that there is also no
self worth, I am Fountainhead’ by Ayn Rand (1943), for
not afraid of being example, spoke of extreme positivism or
seat in Business Class. All the same, we
Objectivism – ‘each person is expected
humble. to think primarily about himself and to
live primarily for himself. The needs of
the individual can never be sacrificed to
the needs of the group.’
In our wellbeing articles we have spoken
of self acceptance and self confidence
but it has to be founded on humility.
True self-acceptance is based on love and
humility and we can call this love for self.
Selfishness instead, is based on pride and
a disregard for others. Love for self begins
with the humble acceptance that all that
I have (talents, looks, achievements etc.)
is a gift from above. This enables me to
be grateful and to look at others with
compassion and love.
Jesus is humility personified. He was God
but he took the form of a human being
and was born in poverty in a stable. He
died a shameful death on the cross to
save humanity from their sins. This is
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humility. If God himself humbled himself


how much more should we humble
ourselves? He said to his disciples:
“Learn from me, for I am meek and
humble of heart; and you will find rest
for your souls.” (Mt. 11: 29). Humility is
the foundation for a life of holiness and
sanctity. It makes one understand that
God is in control and that we are only
his humble, but worthy instruments. It
is said that as the ant and the elephant
walked across the hanging bridge, the ant
remarked to the elephant, “Boy, don’t we
make this bridge shake!” It is God who
is at the centre of the universe. In the
words of Bernard Baily, “When science
discovers the center of the universe, a
lot of people will be disappointed to find Humility is often mistaken for timidity or is “we” centered. A famous evangelist
they are not it.” subservience or lack of assertiveness. decided to write a book on “Humility” and
Humility is actually founded on inner unfortunately its publication was delayed
Christian Herter was the governor of because the printer ran out of capital I’s!
strength. Once I am confident of my self
Massachusetts in the 1950’s and once
worth I am not afraid of being humble. In the days when an ice cream sundae
when he was campaigning, he came
The more a person grows in greatness cost much less, a 10 year old boy
across someone whom he was about
and wisdom, the humbler he or she entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at
to ignore, but found himself having
becomes. It is said that it is often the a table. A waitress put a glass of water
to notice. Apparently, he was having a
neo-rich who flaunt their wealth in a very in front of him. “How much is an ice
really hard day campaigning, missed his
vulgar manner. David Packard, the co- cream sundae?” “Fifty cents,” replied the
lunch and came in the late afternoon to
founder of Hewlett-Packard is quoted waitress. The little boy pulled his hand
a church barbeque, really hungry. As he
as saying: “You shouldn’t gloat about out of his pocket and studied the number
moved down the serving line, the story
anything you’ve done; you ought to keep of coins in it. “How much is a dish of
goes, he held out his plate to the woman
going and find something better to do.” plain ice cream?” he inquired. Some
serving chicken. She put a piece on his Another great leader is Patrick Daniel,
plate and turned to the next person in line. people were now waiting for a table and
CEO of North American energy and the waitress was a bit impatient. “Thirty-
“Excuse me,” the governor said. “Do you pipeline company Enbridge, espouses five cents,” she said brusquely – a little
mind if I have another piece of chicken?” two leadership attributes: determination to arrogant. The little boy again counted the
“Sorry,” the woman told him. “I’m create results and humility, “I have learned coins. “I’ll have the plain ice cream,” he
supposed to give one piece of chicken through the lives of great leaders,” he said. The waitress brought the ice cream,
to each person.” “But I’m starved,” said, “that greatness comes from humility put the bill on the table and walked away
the governor said. “Sorry,” the woman and being at times, self-effacing.” without a smile. The boy finished the ice
said again, “Only one to a customer.” Friendships and marriages often dissolve cream, paid the cashier and departed.
Governor Herter was apparently a and come to nothing due to the lack of
modest and unassuming man but he When the waitress came back, she
humility. A little humility can often solve began wiping down the table and then
decided this time he would throw a a number of problems in our families and
little weight around. “Do you know who swallowed hard at what she saw. There,
places of work. It is the lack of humility placed neatly beside the empty dish,
I am?” he said to this woman. “I’m the that does not allow real dialogue to take
governor of the state.” “Do you know were two nickels and five pennies - her
place. The very word dialogue means tip. No wonder Jesus one day took a child
who I am?” the woman replied. “I’m the that we come open to the truth and not
lady in charge of the chicken. Move along in his hands and looked at his followers
come with fixed ideas. True humility and said: “Unless you become like little
mister,” she said. makes us make statements like: “You are
Humility is the defining characteristic right!” or “This is something I can learn
of an unpretentious person, one who is from you.” Humility helps us to apologize. Joe Andrew sdb
modest and is not arrogant or aggressive. Arrogance is “I” centered and humility joeandrewsdb@hotmail.com
Don bosco SEPTEMBER 2008 13
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I
n Phoenix, Arizona a young mother on all three calls. He rode in different he said. Billy smiled
stared down at her 6 year old son, fire engines, the Paramedics van, and and said, “I know,
who was dying of terminal leukaemia. even the fire chief’s car. He was also my mommy told me
Although her heart was filled with videotaped for the local news program. that and she said that
sadness, she also had a strong feeling angels will be holding
This little boy lived three months longer
of determination. Like any parent, she my hand.” He closed
because of this dream come true and with
wanted her son to grow and fulfill all his eyes one last time.
the love and attention that was lavished
his dreams but now that was no longer A little boy’s innocent dream had come
upon him.
possible. And seeing her son’s innocent true. (This story is an internet forward
smile, she decided to fight till the end One night all of his vital signs began to and also to be found in ‘Chicken Soup
and if possible to make all his innocent drop dramatically and the head nurse for the soul’)
dreams come true. called the family members to the hospital.
One can look into trains, buses, colleges,
Then she remembered the day Billy had
She wiped away her tears and took her schools, market places or in Churches,
spent as a Fireman, so she called the Fire
son’s hand and asked, “Billy, did you ever temples or even seminaries and observe
Chief and asked if it would be possible to
think or dream about what you wanted a number of people who are living
send a fireman in uniform to the hospital
to be once you grew up? “Mommy,” he ordinary lives of quiet desperation with
to be with Billy as he made his transition.
replied, “I always wanted to be a fireman no big dreams pushing them, with no
The chief replied, “We can do better than
when I grew up.” She smiled back and

Live a purpose
said, “Let’s see if we can make your wish
come true.”
Later that day she went to her local fire
department where she met Fireman Bob,
who had a heart as big as a Phoenix. She

driven life
explained her son’s final wish and asked if it
might be possible to give her 6 year old son
a ride around the block on a fire engine.
Fireman Bob thought for a while and
said, “Look, we can do better than that.
If you’ll have your son ready at seven that. We’ll be there in five minutes. Will
o’clock, Wednesday morning, we’ll you please do me a favour? When you
make him an honorary Fireman for the
whole day. He can come down to the
hear the sirens screaming and see the
lights flashing, will you announce over
We all have dreams
fire station, eat with us and go out on the PA system, that it is not a fire in the but once we grow
all the fire calls! And if you’ll give us his building but it’s just the fire department
sizes (shirt, pants, shoes), we’ll get a coming to see one of its finest members
older we seem to get
real fire uniform for him, with a real fire
hat, with the emblem of the Phoenix Fire
one more time? And will you open the lost in the maze of life
window to his room?”
Department on it, a yellow slicker like we
wear and rubber boots.” Her sad face About five minutes later a hook and definite purpose driving them. And often
brightened up. She was now certain that ladder truck arrived at the hospital and they are good people. Often the bad
she could make her little son’s dream extended its ladder up to Billy’s third ones are driven by a negative purpose,
come true. floor open window and 16 fire-fighters for example, terrorists. They work with
climbed up the ladder into Billy’s room. a purpose and a good plan. But ‘good’
Three days later Fireman Bob picked With his mother’s permission, they people seem to just live or partly live.
up Billy, dressed him in his uniform and hugged him and held him and told him They are not conscious of their ‘big’
escorted him from his hospital bed to the how much they LOVED him. dream or their purpose or the singular
waiting hook and ladder truck. Billy got
With his dying breath, Billy looked up at message God has sent them to deliver
to sit on the back of the truck and help
the fire chief and said, “Chief, am I really on this earth.
steer it back to the fire station. He was
in heaven. There were three fire calls in a fireman now?” “Billy, you are, and the When we are small we have dreams but
Phoenix that day and Billy got to go out Head Chief, Jesus, is holding your hand,” as we grow older we seem to get lost in
12 Don bosco october 2008
W E LL - B E I N G

abandoned and neglected people of


society and she responds to this call.
This was her particular mission, dream
or purpose. Don Bosco was nine years
old when he had a dream of reaching out
to children and youth. He kept dreaming
and working on this purpose, against all
odds. He was focused and said a definite
‘no’ to other invitations. And today his

Life is all about choices.


Live a purpose filled
life ... make your life a
meaningful existence on
this earth.

followers are reaching out to thousands


of youth all over the world. What is my
special message, what is my purpose?
We have to pray, reflect and discover our
personal purpose for being alive. The
more we dream and reflect the shadows
will give way to light. We will discover a
the maze of life. As I often write, life is all we could also think in terms of our
path, a personal path, a rich legacy.
about choices. There is one more choice meaningful existence on earth. What is
we can make. We can live a purpose-filled my personal contribution to this earth or All of us may not be called to achieve great
life or a life that is not purpose driven. to our society? We could have dreams for dreams or purposes that newspapers
We can dream great dreams and find the our family and for society at large. If I am and encyclopaedias will record. We may
ways to fulfil these dreams or just partly a married person I could question myself be just called to achieve more humble
live. Little Billy (in the story above) had often and see what is the legacy I want to tasks. But the important factor is to
a dream but his mother’s love and the leave for my family? How will my family have a purpose. There are people who
fire chief’s compassion made this dream members remember me? What will be my have planted as many trees as possible,
come true. If they had not believed in his contribution to my family? It is important there are those who have organized soup
dream, if they had scorned his dream, he to be conscious of this purpose. kitchens for the poor or have given water
would have died without having fulfilled to the thirsty on their streets, or taught
The second level of this purpose is
his dream. others to save rain water. What will your
our contribution to society. Some
purpose be, what will your verse be?
Rick Warren (the author of bestseller have contributed much. Think of world
Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “He
‘Purpose Driven Life’) writes: “People class scientists, inventors, people who
should sweep streets so well that all the
ask me, ‘what is the purpose of life?’ discovered various medicines, great
host of heaven and earth will pause to
And I respond: In a nutshell, life is artists, world class musicians, engineers,
say, ‘Here lives a great street-sweeper
preparation for eternity. We were made educators, thinkers, philosophers, saints
who did his job well’.” Stephen Covey
to last forever, and God wants us to be etc. Mother Teresa was a member of
would say: “Find your voice and inspire
with Him in Heaven.” This we could call a religious congregation and she was
others to find theirs”.
the ultimate purpose of our existence struck by the poverty she saw around her.
and we should be constantly challenged God calls her to leave that congregation Joe Andrew sdb
by this purpose, this goal of life. But and to begin a new mission for the most joeandrewsdb@hotmail.com
Don bosco october 2008 13