No. 1020



As long as we live, we will have other people who will disappoint us -- that is just part of living on this planet with at least one other person. If you will think about it, I believe you will agree that most of our disappointments come when those we love or have some relationship with have failed us in some way. It may be a spouse, a child, a member of our family, an employee, co-worker, a pastor, a good friend or any number of other people.
The Harvard-educated Episcopal minister Phillips Brooks (1835-1893) once said, “There are some who want to get rid of their past, who if they could would begin all over again … but you must learn, you must let God teach you, that the only way to get rid of your past is to get a future out of it.”
When we talk about people who disappoint us, we sometimes give up on them. In this regard, I have a very important concept to share with you today that could possibly change the way you see yourself and others. I might add that in my reading this is something I seldom see discussed as part of the reason we see so much “failure” in our society and in the lives of others. But when you think about it, you will discover that it really makes sense. Here it is and is so simple that most of us simply overlook it.
When a child is born, he or she has absolutely no control whatsoever over his or her parentage. Let us just pray, first of all, that this child is healthy and has a good chance of becoming a successful and productive human being. From this point we see one child born to parents who are highly educated -- both have successful careers, earn far more income than they need to meet their needs, and have many other advantages too numerous to name. On the other hand, still another child is born to a single mother – she is on welfare, has four other children, and is addicted to illegal drugs. These are the people we should never give up on. We must help them to help themselves as much as we can. In this regard, reading and literacy are so very important.
I have said these things to simply repeat this valid point: we should not give up on people. There are countless individuals living today who have become great success stories. They overcame all the odds of who their parents were or where they came from. This is one of the first things that comes to my mind when I hear about a young person who has dropped out of school, committed a crime, has a ring in their nose and tattoo drawings all over their body, is hooked on drugs, and can’t find a job. We should never make excuses for them, but this does play a role in having a great opportunity to become a real success story in today’s society.
Before I move on, let me make a comment about what I said about tattoo drawings. We are free to make our own choices and I have good friends who are fine people who have tattoo drawings. I believe you will agree that this is not a plus when it comes to looking for a job. This may be a personal opinion, but I believe the reason most people do this is because they want attention. We all need and seek the approval of others and when we don’t get positive approval, we will take any kind we can get.
If you will seriously consider everything that I have shared in this column, the one dominant thought I hope you will retain is that we should not give up on people who need help the most. We truly need people who are encouragers, who will look for the good in others and focus on giving them positive reinforcement. Sometimes even a smile or a kind word goes a lot further than we realize.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: THE DEAL OF THE CENTURY – Begin your day on a positive note – 365 days for $12. This will benefit the Bookcase for Every Child project. Go to to subscribe.)