No. 1286



The legendary football coach Vince Lombardi once said, “No one ever fails in life until he blames someone else.” Unfortunately, many people in our prosperous nation were never taught that accepting responsibility for themselves and their actions is the most visible sign of maturity. This is a personal quality that will contribute greatly to individual success. It’s also a vital need if we are to preserve our freedom in the perilous and ever-changing times in which we live.
As it relates to our personal and collective freedom, I would like to ask you to create this scene in your mind: just before the break of dawn one cold winter morning, a family is standing out in the street in their pajamas, watching their home burn to the ground. As they huddle together and hear the distant sound of the fire truck on its way to the fire, they begin to think about the loss of their most cherished possessions, many of which can never be replaced. But at this moment, they are thankful just to be alive.
Now, as we all know, this scene actually takes place thousands of times each year in America and many families are not as fortunate as the one I’ve just described, as their lives are lost in the tragedy of a home fire. There are also many of our nation’s firefighters who perish in the line of duty. However, for those who are fortunate enough to escape with their lives, they can start over and rebuild. In a few years, in most cases, their lives can be back to “normal.”
The example I’ve just shared with you is meant to graphically illustrate that everything is relative. We don’t appreciate fair weather until we have suffered through several weeks of rain or snow. Most of us don’t appreciate good health until we have had an accident or a prolonged illness of some kind. Most won’t appreciate freedom until we come face-to-face with the distinct possibility of losing it.
One time I heard the late Dr. Ken McFarland -- noted speaker, author and guest lecturer for General Motors -- tell the story about the first mate of a ship that rushed up to the captain and said, “Sir, the ship is sinking!” The captain calmly replied, “Let ’er go, she ain’t ours.” Dr. McFarland then went on to make a very important point, as he said, “If we are on a ship, it is ours, regardless of who owns it.” You see, when a ship goes down, every person who is on it goes down with it. In other words, “you can’t sink half a ship.”
The reasons are many, but the United States of America is sailing through some tough social, spiritual and economic seas just now, as we struggle to pay off our national debt, deal with a worldwide pandemic, and have many social problems begging for a solution. If we are to maintain our precious freedom, as American citizens we all need to accept responsibility for ourselves and our actions and we must believe it’s possible. This principle also applies to our homes, our jobs and careers, and especially how we treat those around us. To show love, kindness and concern for others is a sign of maturity.
In the wake of many tragic shootings in our country, we should all get on our knees and pray to God that He will heal the wounds of our society. I’m deeply concerned as I’m sure you are, for the citizens of our country, especially for our young people because they are our hope for the future. Just remember this thought, you can’t sink half a ship. The whole ship stays up or the whole ship goes down, and it is yours, if you are on it.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034)