Integrity Matters Broadcasts
September 11, 2005
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
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.
- At least two people care enough about you that they
would die for you.
- At least fifteen people in this world love you in
- A smile from you can bring happiness to anyone, even
if they don't like you.
- Every night, someone thinks about you before they
go to sleep.
- You mean the world to someone.
- If not for you, someone may not be living.
- You are special and unique.
- When you make the biggest mistake ever, something
good can still come from it.
- When you think the world has turned its back on you,
consider that you most likely turned your back on the
- Someone that you don't even know exists and cares
a great deal for you.
- Remember compliments received and forget about
the rude remarks.
- There is no substitute for the truth and that includes
telling others, directly and graciously, how you
feel about them.
- 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
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
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.