Words to inspire the belief that we have all we need to be the change we wish to see.

Month: February 2016 (Page 2 of 2)


Steve Harvey is a comedian and host of the game show Family Feud.  I saw a video clip recently of him speaking to the audience after a taping.  He shared some inspiring thoughts.

He said that in life, each and every one of us has a gift.  It could be writing.  Cutting hair. Landscaping.  Baking.  Teaching.  Car detailing.  And we know what our gift is by how we feel when we do it.  Passionate.  Excited.  Curious to learn more.

He said we are all standing at the edge of a cliff in life.  And we can either stay on solid ground and go to work day in and day out doing something that pays the bills.  Or, we can jump into the unknown and use our gift.

He said unless we jump, we will never know what might have been.  What we could have accomplished.  How we might have changed our lives and the world around us.  How much joy we might have felt.

He also reminded us that when we do jump, the parachute will not open right away.  We will hit the side of the cliff.  We will get bruised and battered and feel like it’s not working out.

But if we keep going, the parachute will open up.  And when it does, it will allow us to soar.

Paulo Coelho said, “You have to take risks.  We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen.”

And John F. Kennedy said, “There are risks and costs to action.  But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.”

One life.  That’s all we have.  Are we going to jump and soar?  Or will we watch and wonder what might have been?

The heart of hockey

My young sons both play hockey.  We’ve had great experiences through the years seeing sportsmanship, team spirit and growth. But sometimes the sport, like many, can highlight competitiveness, blame, and winning at any cost.

Something happened recently that reminded me what sport can also bring out… compassion and connection.
My 10-year-old son was playing in a local hockey tournament.  There was a skills competition and after it was over the captain of our team noticed a boy he didn’t know from one of the other teams crying in the change room.  Our team captain went over to the boy and asked him what was wrong. The boy said his team came last in the relay (a competition he didn’t realize he had to compete in) and he felt it was all his fault.
Our young captain was quick to tell him he shouldn’t blame himself.  It wasn’t his fault.  He had done his best which was all anyone could ask for.
This made the boy feel better (and made his mother cry).  You see, what our captain couldn’t have known was that the boy he complimented used to play at a much higher level in hockey, but a genetic disease led to hip surgery which ended up paralyzing him.  He thought he would never play hockey again.  He had worked hard and made it back to a team, but he still had trouble with speed and getting up when he fell.  
The mom of the boy who was cheered up by our team captain was so touched that she emailed the head of our hockey association and things went a little viral from there.  The story was in a major newspaper a few days ago and our coach was interviewed on the radio, too.
Remember, these are 10-year-old boys.  Who can teach us a lot about empathy, saying what you need to say, never giving up and making a difference.
We have invited the boy from the other team to be an honorary member of our team and he is attending our practice this week where all the kids will celebrate the new friendship over pizza.
Maya Angelou once shared that, “People will forget what you said.  People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.”  A few kind words from a young boy made a world of difference.
And in the words of Anne Frank, “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before beginning to improve the world.”  

Abraham Lincoln

I have always believed that anyone can do anything.  You just have to set your mind to it.

Abraham Lincoln is someone who makes me think this is true.

He was born into a family without money or connections.  He went to a log cabin school to learn the basics of writing and math, but had to drop out at age 9 when his mom died.

He got involved in politics at age 24 and served four terms as a General Assemblyman in his State. He always loved reading and would borrow books to devour as a young boy.  He taught himself about law and when he was 27 years old he wrote the bar exam and became a lawyer.

He was elected to U.S. Congress at the age of 36.  Then, in 1861 at the age of 52, he became President of the United States.  Four months later a Civil War broke out in America and more than 620,000 people died before it was over.  While leading the country though this war, Lincoln accomplished the following things…

He signed the Emancipation Proclamation to free slaves.

He delivered the Gettysburg Address, which is one of the most quoted speeches in history.

He signed the Pacific Railroad Acts to build the first transcontinental railroad from San Francisco to Iowa.

He signed the National Banking Acts to standardize currency and create a network of national banks.

He signed the Morill Act to create agricultural and technical colleges in each State.

He signed the Homestead Act which encouraged people to migrate west by offering them land.

And he helped preserve the United States of America as one nation.

He was arguably one of the greatest leaders of all time.  And he had no money, connections or education to speak of.

So what’s stopping us?  How can we change the world?  We have all we need.  We just have to take action and put one foot in front of the other.  Lincoln said, “I will prepare and some day my chance will come.”  Is your chance here today?

As our American neighbours caucus this week and come together to decide who their next leader will be, I leave you with the words of Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg where he shares the importance and cost of freedom and democracy.

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Abraham Lincoln
November 19, 1863

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