November 25, 2015

Why we Should be Grateful to our "Tribe", part 2

Please pause for a moment and consider those who brought you to where you are. Maybe you’re not as “successful” as you’d like.  Who is? Maybe you’re not where you want to be, but you’re not where you were, either. Who do you have to thank? See if any of these sound familiar:

  • Parents who sacrificed their time and energy (maybe even dreams)
  • Teachers who inspired your choice of career
  • Friends who saw your potential and pushed you into it
  • A significant other who treated you better than expected
  • Mentors who taught you a craft, or a way of thinking

The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein

This incredibly touching children’s book is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary. For me, one of the timeless, ageless messages of the book is that we need to show gratitude to those who help us daily. Why? They may be making unimaginable sacrifices we don’t bother to consider.

We follow the main character, an unnamed boy, from childhood to adulthood. Throughout this time, he uses the resources of a certain tree to make money, build things, and whatever else he needs. All the tree asks in return is the boy’s time. But, the boy never complies; he is always too busy.

Finally, the main character returns to the tree as an older man. All that’s left is a stump. The tree regretfully tells the man that he doesn’t have anything left to give. The man says that’s okay because all he wants to do is rest. The tree replies that, well, a tree stump will provide a comfortable place for him to sit down. So, the old man relaxes on the tree stump.

Success Because of Groups

I recently posted an article about how we should be thankful for the tribe that helped us to succeed. There is always someone, or some people, behind every victory. Often, these individuals are underappreciated. Thanksgiving is a great time to remember them.

Right now, the whole world is in a huge mess that cannot be fixed by only one person. Throughout history, it’s taken a whole set of people to resolve any tricky situation.

The American Revolution

I am constantly amazed by how the U.S. was brought to and from the brink of imminent disaster an infinite amount of times on the way to freedom. How was this done? Here are only a few cases:
  • A spy ring in New York
  • Mountain-men sharpshooters trained in guerilla warfare
  • Female spies
  • Native Americans who brought food to Valley Forge
  • Frenchman Marquis de Lafayette, who helped command colonial forces and facilitate the decisive victory at Yorktown
  • Prussian Baron von Steuben, who trained and organized the soldiers at Valley Forge
  • African-American laborers who spied while working in General Cornwallis’ camp
  • Wealthy, prominent people who put everything on the line for the cause of liberty

My Conclusion

We are usually strengthened through others.  “No man is an island,” as John Donne says in “Meditation 17”. It’s amazing the fights humans can win when we band together!
  • Nations are born.
  • Illnesses are cured.
  • Self-esteem is rebuilt.
  • Students’ grades improve.

For more about amazing victories through the help of loved ones, please see my book, Accept No Trash Talk: Overcoming the Odds.

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