No. 525



A few weeks ago I received one of the most rewarding letters that I have received since I started writing this column back in 1995. This letter was from Peter Carroll, Linda Cobb, Linda Halvorsen, May Rutherford, Sara Spoerri and Bea Tolson. These individuals live in and around Tyler Hill, Pa., and they wrote to tell me that one of my columns had inspired them to begin something called "The Harmony Project." The column titled "Getting Serious About Character" appeared in February 2004 in the Wayne Independent, published in Honesdale, Pa.
Over the years I have received thousands of letters from readers all across the country who have shared a wide range of things, but this one was special because it means that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people's lives will be changed for the better. I can tell you that nothing is more rewarding than that. In addition to sharing my enthusiasm for what these concerned people are doing, I have another reason for sharing this with you. In view of the declining character, ethics and morals of far too many of our citizens, wouldn't it be wonderful if readers in other communities would follow their example.
Most people just give lip service to the problems related to declining character, but these people are actually doing something about it. Please allow me to share their stated objectives and I believe the picture will come into a little sharper focus. The Harmony Project is a program developed to "campaign" for continued character development and awareness within our community. The creators of the project believe that character development begins in the cradle and never ends. Every action we take as human beings teaches those we influence about our character. One of the most important things for us to understand is that we are all powerful role models, all of the time, in whatever endeavors we undertake. By "campaigning" for Respect, Acceptance, Compassion and Gratitude we call attention to the fact that every member of our community has a responsibility and a role in creating the level of civility and quality of life with which we live.
Now here is where this "campaign" takes a departure from the norm. Modeled after a political campaign, they have actually developed brochures, buttons, lawn signs, bookmarks, window signs and billboard(s) and here is a level of commitment that really touches me. The people I mentioned at the beginning of the column did not have a lot of money to get started, but they followed through and put the plan into action anyway. These six people meet each weekday morning at 6:45 a.m. At these meetings each person contributes $3 per day into the "kitty" based on the belief that small contributions can significantly impact local needs.
I must say that I feel deeply honored to be involved in this project in a small way, but the thought or idea is only a small part of making something happen. The real payoff comes to the people who are actually doing something positive to make a difference in their community. This is the way it has always been and always will be.
One of the group members, Linda Cobb, a retired New York City schoolteacher, really sums it up when she says, "We are all very much 'works in progress' and this campaign is really adult education; unfortunately we often blame kids for being disrespectful. The truth of the matter is, they learn it from us. We're their models." If you can help, they are needing financial help to get even stronger.
As I've been saying for several years now, character development is very important to the future of our country. If you and some of your friends would be interested in a similar project, why not contact The Harmony Project, P.O. Box 66, Tyler Hill, Pa. 18469, and thank you.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)