“As you grow older you will discover that you have two hands. One for helping yourself. The other for helping others.” Audrey Hepburn
“Seek always to do some good, somewhere. Every man has to seek in his own way to realize his true worth. You must give some time to your fellow-man. For remember, you don’t live in a world all your own. Your brothers are here too.” Albert Schweitzer
Teenage boys endure their own problems and fears. They also choose friends that are in high regard. Girls are judging them by who they are with. The stronger and louder the friends, the more status they gain. Boys watch television and sports, and read books and magazines. All of the media and their own families and peers, emphasize the image of a male as tough, feisty, strong, mean, courageous, powerful, and controlling as a leader. The kind thinking male is very low on the scale. Can anyone else see a problem?
Boys and girls may believe they are not ready to drive, but they will get behind a wheel anyways because they fear being called a chicken or baby. Boys fight over girls, because that is what is expected. Girls believe they are more loved, if the young man fights for them. The young man has no choice when challenged, if he wants to keep his girlfriend as well as his pride. To lose her, is to lose standing in the group. Girls may not like the way a boy treats them, but they put up with it because they don’t want to lose their status in the group. We are learning group mentality where we don’t think anymore, but allow our group to decide our issues and choices.
Teenage boys and girls stress over college applications. Many parents can’t afford the cost of a high-end college. The state college is the chosen school because it is the cheapest. This in no way makes it less of an educator. On the contrary, there is more competition to get in at a state school, and less codling. The young teens learn how to manage themselves and their courses. When all of the learning is complete, the person with the finest degree, is the person who put the most into their learning, regardless of what college they received their education.
Of course when applying, young men and women worry about the status of the colleges. When some students are discussing their chosen schools that have a high cost of acceptance, others are embarrassed to discuss the colleges they are set to attend in the fall. Fear keeps these students from relaying the names of their less prestigious colleges. The books are the same. Science has its paradigms and those are current and up to date. The books are teaching these paradigms, no matter what school you are attending. Professors at college simply toss out the books to purchase and the learning program or syllabus. It is totally up to the individual student to read and learn.
Hence the amount of learning has to do with the student and not the school. Teens must stop loathing the college they are entering. How much time and effort they plan to give their studies, far outweighs any fancy name that won’t even be considered in the future. We never ask our tax accountant where they went to school, nor our engineer building our bridges, or the nurse helping us in the hospital. Even our doctor who we cherish, is never questioned about his or her credenials. In order to feel important, others have a need to use whatever is within their means, to seemingly place them on a higher pedestal. In time they fall off. You can’t fall if your feet are already on the ground.
A strong male is a courageous powerful leader, and feisty but in different ways. Added to these qualities are thinking, empathy, caring, thoughtfulness and gentleness. He is the one to run into the burning building to save someone. He is the one to protect and work for his family. He is the one to take responsibility and never walk away from his accountability. He is the one extending empathy and gentleness with his children. He is the one to make peace and make a better world, because he has reflected on what is right. Who would you want as a leader? What we are receiving today in the form of leaders, sports heroes and Hollywood idols are the qualities we are projecting as worthy.
Most of our idols are pompous, without accountability, without compassion, compromise, empathy, care and gentleness. It is more than treating those we love with these attributes, but also those we dislike. Our society needs to rethink its heroes. Most of our heroes have huge egos. We are the heroes. We have the ability to do great things, and to influence others towards greatness. A mother or father who labors every day for the sake of their children is the real hero. Name calling, bullying, and being the butt of the jokes can become intolerable for teens. What is more intolerable is the fear of losing friends and respect. The fear of being without friends, love and acceptance, outweighs the insults. No one wants to be alone.
I remember hearing a story about a couple who had two sons. One became a doctor and made his parents very proud. They believed every life he saved, reflected on his soul and their souls. Their other son became a policeman. Try as they did, they couldn’t come to terms with how much of a positive impact he made on other people’s lives. When their policeman son was retiring, after thirty years of service, his fellow officers held a testimonial in his honor. The parents were invited and pleased to attend.
At the ceremony numerous people stepped up to speak on behalf of their son. Apparently, their son had gotten involved with helping some poorer families in the community he patrolled. People hurried up to the microphone, one after another, and recalled how this man helped them to overcome the many temptations of their environment. Each person ended with the words, “If it hadn’t been for his help, I’d never be where I am today.” At the end of each testimonial, they stated their current position in life, and thanked him for his positive affect on them. A couple were now doctors, nurses, teachers, social workers factory workers and clerks. They were all contributing members to the society.
The man’s parents were speechless. It had never occurred to the parents, how many lives were touched by their son. They were hugging their son with tears in their eyes. Instead of taking the glory, he responded, “You guys were my first teachers; I need to share this glory with both of you.” Now their tears were gushing and the group hug was maintained for a very long time. Their son’s humbleness only added to his outstanding attributes.
After many years, this story remains in my memory still, because we never really understand and sometimes underestimate our power to do good and to make a difference. Most of us never get a testimonial in our honor, so most of us will never know the lives we’ve touched and possibly changed for the better. The man did it at no expense or hurt to another human being. Up to this point in time there was no glory. He was never giving from his ego or great wealth. He was giving from his heart. We all have hearts and we can all give. Maybe we will never be wealthy enough to give of our possessions, but we have hands and feet and eyes and ears. We can give of ourselves and our time. Time is our most precious gift to offer.
“The greatest gift you can give someone is your time. Because when you give someone your time you give them a portion of your life, that you will never get back.” Albert Schweitzer
“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” Albert Schweitzer
“A man is truly ethical only when he obeys the compulsion to help all life which he is able to assist, and shrinks from injuring anything that lives.” Albert Schweitzer
“The true worth of a man is not to be found in man himself, but in the colours and textures that come alive in others.” Albert Schweitzer
“Do something for somebody everyday for which you do not get paid.” Albert Schweitzer