Integrity Matters Broadcasts

September 11, 2005

Dependable Moorings

Dear Friends:

September 11, 2001, has become the November 22, 1963; or the December 7, 1941, for the current generation. Political, economic, cultural and natural catastrophes shake the foundations of our lives; creating powerful emotion-charged memories that last a life-time. Readers who have been alive for 70 or more years remember these moments; often knowing exactly where they were and what they were doing on each date.

The watercolor below, createdby Ms. Sally Smith,was inspired by her reaction to 9/11/2001. Immediately after the New York City terrorist attack, Sally was unable to make contact with a member of her family, a teacher whose classroom was very near to the Twin Towers. Feeling helpless, like a "dinghy adrift" - she painted until she re-established contact and found, once again, hope and confidence, the dependable mooring of family, communication and hope.

Shortly after 9-11, my wife, Jane and I visited Sally's gallery in Carmel, California, and were moved by her story about when, how and why the painting came into being. She said that when one does not know what to do to help those closest to them, or even if they are alive or dead, it feels like being a small boat, without moorings, a dinghy adrift. A few weeks later, she phoned us and paid us a very special compliment, saying that she would be pleased for her art work to hang in our offices. "Your counsel was immensely helpful to my husband, and I hope this image can be equally so as you continue with your work." A little while later, Sally presented us with her painting, a visual reminder that each of us can be a source of reassurance for those with whom we come in contact. We can serve as a dependable mooring in a world that sometimes appears to have simply gone mad.

"Dinghy adrift" by Sally Smith 9/11/01

Becoming a dependable mooring -

So, how does one become a dependable mooring and avoid becoming a dinghy adrift?

A wise client suggested the following: "You sometimes have to give before you get." Human beings are responsible for "protecting those who cannot protect themselves." August 29, 2005, is a vivid reminder of accountability because it is the date Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama and precipitated a catastrophe impacting lives, the environment and the confidence of many that emergency structures, in the United States, might be inadequate. Multiple local, state and federal breakdowns must be transformed from lethal operational mistakes into effective and predictable responses.

One of my recent Integrity Matters columns was titled: Katrina shows dark side of human behavior.

The question: Does the lawless behavior of New Orleans' urban gangsters mean that American society is one storm away from anarchy and an even further loss of integrity?

My response: Yes...and here is the remainder of my response:

Sensory junkies, those craving noise and stimulation, have become mainstream, seemingly unwilling to slow down long enough to savor moments and nurture relationships. To counter this callous approach, consider the ramifications of these 13 observations. Even if each is not 100% spot on, for you, still each encourages and improves social interactions. Hurricane Katrina is another "wake up" call, suggesting that everyone, on occasion, needs the support of others.

  1. At least two people care enough about you that they would die for you.
  2. At least fifteen people in this world love you in some way.
  3. A smile from you can bring happiness to anyone, even if they don't like you.
  4. Every night, someone thinks about you before they go to sleep.
  5. You mean the world to someone.
  6. If not for you, someone may not be living.
  7. You are special and unique.
  8. When you make the biggest mistake ever, something good can still come from it.
  9. When you think the world has turned its back on you, consider that you most likely turned your back on the world.
  10. Someone that you don't even know exists and cares a great deal for you.
  11. Remember compliments received and forget about the rude remarks.
  12. There is no substitute for the truth and that includes telling others, directly and graciously, how you feel about them.
  13. Wonderful friends ought to be told they are great, often. So, tell a friend, now.

Being a Constructive Model, a Mooring, for Others

This story is about a young man named Bill. He wore a T-shirt with holes in it, jeans and no shoes. Such was his college wardrobe for four years. Both brilliant and rebellious, he began his spiritual quest during his junior year. Next to the campus was a large church facility, with an aging membership. The leaders of the congregation wanted to reach out to students, but were not sure how to go about it.

One day Bill decided to attend their worship service. He walked in, more than a few minutes late, wearing his jeans and a worn T-shirt; and, of course, no shoes. Bill made his way down the center aisle looking, unsuccessfully, for a seat. As he moved closer to front of the church, more faces turned toward him, perhaps annoyed that he came in late, or that they did not know why he was there. People were looking a bit uncomfortable, but no one saying or doing anything.

Finding no place to sit, he plopped down on the carpet, directly in front of the "sermon-giving" minister. Throughout the drama of the late arriving young person seeking a place to sit, the clergyman continued with the presentation of the Sunday morning message.

At about the same time, moving toward the front of the sanctuary was a deacon, in his eighties, with silver-gray hair, and wearing a three-piece suit. He walked with a cane and, as he made his way directly to the casually-dressed student, the very silence seemed to say that no one would blame the man for what he was about to say or do. After all, how can one expect a man of his age and of his background to understand a socially unsophisticated college student who chose to sit on the floor of a sanctuary, during a formal worship service?

It took what seemed like a very long time for the gentleman to reach the front of the church.

Fifteen hundred people sat in silence. The only sound interrupting the "hushed" silence was the clicking of the deacon's cane.  All eyes were focused on him.  Folks in the pews seemed to have ceased breathing. The minister stopped speaking, waiting see what the deacon would do.

Fifteen hundred people watched this dignified leader drop his cane on the floor. Then with great difficulty, he lowered himself and sat down next to the young student. Bill was no longer alone. What had been thick tension was replaced with choked-up emotion.  When the minister regained control of himself, he offered these words, "What I'm about to say, you may never remember; however, what you have just seen, you will never forget."  Reaching out is a first step.

Therefore, to be a powerful mooring : Be thoughtful in how you live: your words and actions.  Your life, which is reflected in how you behave, may be the only "values-based or religious literature" some people will ever read.  Each of us is a role model for someone. - adapted

Another Integrity Matters newspaper column, question:

Dear Jim:

A Pennsylvania Little League coach of 8-year olds, allegedly paid one of his players $25 to use a bat to injure another member of their T-Ball team. The 27-year old coach didn't want the mentally-disabled youngster to play and risk a loss. Is this an issue of integrity or insanity?

Adults who behave this way have serious issues involving integrity, possibly criminality and certainly maturity. To learn more about integrity-centered coaching, and adult responsibilities, click here:

September 11, 2001, has become the November 22, 1963; or the December 7, 1941, for the current generation. The right response has always been to be supportive to those suffer in the eye of catastrophic events: in New York City in 2001; in Dallas and Washington, D.C. in 1963; at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in 1941; and, along the Gulf Coast of the United States, on August 29, 2005.

Victims, anywhere around the world, for any number of reasons, need caring people to find ways to listen to their stories. If you are able, then offer assistance. Pray for the victims that they might manage their losses and their health, enabling them to regain hope that integrity is alive along with compassion. Become a dependable mooring for those who are adrift. Integrity Matters.

Our October Broadcast addresses: Listening in a talking world.

Thanks for caring.


Home Page | About Us | Ask Bracher | Services | Resources | Contact Us

©Bracher Center for Integrity in Leadership. All Rights Reserved.
1400 Munras Avenue ~ Monterey, California 93940