Setting An Example
Author: Catherine Pulsifer, © 2011
Last week was an emotional week for many thousands of Canadians.
Jack Layton, Leader of the Official Opposition Party in Canada, passed away.
To use the wisdom of Albert Einstein, "Setting an example is not the main
means of influencing another, it is the only means."
I am not writing about politics. I am writing about a man who set
for all of us. Mr. Layton influenced thousands of Canadians.
A True Example
He was an example of a man who truly had a passion for his work.
He did not just speak about the issues; he actually worked to have
He took up causes that he believed in, causes that many others shied
away from. For example, these were causes such as the homeless,
AIDS, violence against women, and the environment to name only a few.
was dedicated to helping others
who perhaps could not help
themselves. It didn't matter what your income was, what your nationality
was, what your status was; if you needed help then Jack would help!
He believed in equality for all and that no one should be left behind.
He was a source of inspiration for thousands, and when he passed away
on August 22nd, 2011, it shocked a nation. People of all political beliefs
and of all ages were saddened.
Never in this country's history has there been such an outpouring of emotion.
And the reason for this is due to a man who supported and worked
for the people; a man who would take up the cause of those less fortunate;
a man that influenced and touched the lives of thousands of Canadians and
There are also several if not hundreds or even thousands of other people
who set an extremely valuable example of a righteous and honorable person.
No Fame Or Recognition
But, often these people do not seek to be known around the country nor
do they seek fame nor do they seek anyone's recognition. These are the
types of people who simply go about their daily business demonstrating
caring, compassion, good-will, friendliness, a helping hand, a
warm smile, a genuine greeting of worthiness or contributions to
worthy and necessary causes. These people leave behind a legacy
stronger and bigger than money could buy. These people toll in the trenches
of despair without recognition or wanting to be known other than the person
they are. These folks never shy away fromn standing up for what is right,
just or honest.
What do these people want if it is not recognition?
The answer is akin to the reverse of what you might think. The answer is
contrary to the voices of cultural desires or dictates or what other people
think. These types of people want peace
and happiness. What do I mean?
I mean they already have what so many others go through life trying to find
but trying to find in all the wrong ways. They have a peace that comes
from understanding that the more you give to others means that love for others is the primary motivator.
It means that peace comes from knowing that giving to others is better
than receiving for they know that they have been blessed with the ability
to give, to help, and to aid others. How have they been blessed by giving?
It means that instead of being the one who needs to be in receipt of a
certain type of help, they are fortunate to be able to be the one's helping.
It also means that what they will receive comes back to them many times
over. It comes back to them in shades of happiness. It comes back to them
if and when they need help themselves. However, the act of giving does not
mean that something or anything is expected in return for to be able to help,
give or be an inspiration to others in need is its own reward. It is a testimony
to the unselfishness over greed. It is a testimony to give not to possess.
It is a testimony to the spirit of compassion rather than a desire to amass
These are the people who go about their daily lives bound to their strict
personal ethics that speak to their caring, to their honesty in communication,
and to their continuous commitment to treat people they meet as valued
members of society. It is the personification of one who understands that
every person is as valuable and worthy as every other person no matter
how tall or short, big or little, poor or wealthy, healthy of challenged, famous
or not or powerful or dependent.
So whether you are a well-known person or you are just "you",
always remember that the example you set can change someone
else's life for the better. And, don't think that making someone else's life
better means that you have to do something so grandiose that the entire
world notices. It doesn't mean that your aid to one who is poor elevates
them to the status of wealthy. But, what it does mean is that each act
whether bite size or smaller does count. Everything a person does whether
that be a warm good morning greeting to a street beggar or a simple act of
holding a door open for another person says volumes about you.
It demonstrates that you are not better than anyone else; it shows that
to be humble is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength; and it
conveys acceptance rather than judgement.
Strive to help others, to be that change you want to see in the world.
Every person has the power to change something. It is similar to walking.
You put one foot in front of the other and then another and then another.
Can you imagine how the world would change if every person did just one
thing to help change just one thing? You influence more people than you
Some people may argue that they are not wealthy enough, powerful
enough, known enough to do any good at all. Some believe that what
they actually might consider doing is so minimal that it won't matter anyway.
As we have discussed earlier, this kind of thinking defeats the power of one.
One thing done over and over again has a cumulative effect. Just like a little
snow ball that starts to roll down a snowy hill, it grows in size as it keeps
moving until it becomes something totally different than how it started.
Make no mistake; you, yes you have power to make a change.
A little contribution begins to give way to a cumulative mound of snow
as it moves further and further. Be that little snowball and keep moving
forward. Don't stop; keep moving; keep contributing just one small thing
at a time.
I leave you with a quote from a letter that Jack wrote to Canadians,
and it is my hope that it inspires you and gives you some insight
into a man that will be missed:
"My friends, love is better than anger.
Hope is better than fear.
Optimism is better than despair.
So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic.
And we'll change the world."
1950 - 2011
Inspirational Quotes for Reflection:
"The personal example you set will do more to convince someone
than all the eloquent speeches in the world."
"Doing for others takes the focus off you, and this is so freeing of the
weightiness of the frustrations and emotions that you feel."
"Remember that there is no happiness in having or in getting, but only in giving. Reach out. Share. Smile. Hug."
"How can you change someone's life for the better today?"
Amy J. Blake
"The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example."
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