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Behind the scenes…

David Bornstein wrote one of my favorite books—How to Change the World—Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas.  It is full of stories that can encourage people to follow through on their impulses and help change wrongs to rights.  One of the important lessons that he discusses is about the people who are often overlooked because they do not stand out in the forefront like Bill Gates or Warren Buffett.

Some of us want to be in the forefront whenever there is an exciting event going on.  Some of us like to work behind the scenes.  And sometimes, it is the people who work behind the scenes who make all the difference in the world.

Probably every one of us have heard of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech called, “I have a Dream.”

(I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”)

But did you know that he gave this speech at the March on Washington in August of 1963.  Imagine how hot and humid it was in Washington on that day at that time of year.

The March on Washington was actually organized by a gentleman named Bayard Rustin.  He realized that there would be literally millions of people converging on Washington DC on that date.  He only worked behind the scenes—-he kept a very low profile because he was a homosexual and had been a conscientious objector during World War II.

But it was Rustin who determined the march’s route, its timing, and the program.  He is the one who determined that Martin Luther King, Jr. should speak last.  A lot of Dr. King’s supporters thought this was terrible—they wanted him to speak first–but Rustin knew that his speech could be the culmination of a very important event.

Rustin is the one who assigned security captains to each of the busses and trains, to work as nonviolent civilian marshalls.

He made sure that there was plenty of water to drink and ample supplies of cheap food.

He made sure there were first aid stations and port-a-potties.

Dr. King’s speech has been so important to the civil rights movement—but imagine if Bayard Rustin had not worked behind the scenes that day to insure that the event was free of violence and injuries and that people remained calm and cool.

That’s why it is just as important to be the person who works behind the scenes as the ones who dance in front of the crowd.  Thank you for being willing to work at many things behind the scenes.


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Where we all want to be!  Share peaceful, tranquil thoughts here anytime.

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Approximately 40 years ago – January 20, 1961, John F. Kennedy delivered his inaugural address to the nation.  Many of us have heard one line from that speech over and over:

And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.

But there was so much more. 

Kennedy also said that, “man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty.  I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it. And the glow from that fire can truly light the world.    With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.

And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”

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