Monday, May 01, 2017

The Pope Shares Message on TED

Last week my Facebook feed shared this video of His Holiness Pope Francis giving a TED talk. I watched it. I hope you will, too.

At one point in the video he talks about the responsibility for each of us to take on the role of the Good Samaritan, to help others who are in need.

At another he talks about HOPE, as "a humble, hidden seed of life that within time will develop into a large tree".   And he says, "A single individual is enough for HOPE to exist, and that individual can be YOU."

If you've read any of the thousand-plus articles I've posted on this blog you will see that I use the word "hope" often, such as "I hope you'll read this and share it with others."

In my role as leader of the tutoring programs at Montgomery Ward, starting in 1975, and of the Tutor/Mentor Connection since 1993, I've been that lone leader inviting others to join with me to create brighter futures for kids living in poverty.  I created the image below to show a message I've repeated often since the 1970s.
I've seen the growing violence in America's cities and Chicago's neighborhoods since the 1970s and I've compared it to a snowball rolling down a mountain. At the top it is small, and would be easy to stop. However, as it rolls further downhill, it gains momentum and is almost impossible to stop. When it reaches the valleys and homes at the bottom of the mountain, it destroys everything in its paths, including the homes of the wealthy, along with the poor.

I've feared for many years that the growing sense of hopelessness growing among youth living in high poverty neighborhoods of Chicago and other cities would turn into violence toward others in the wider community, just as it already is destroying lives within poverty communities. I've seen terrorism grow around the world, and seen small sparks here in the US, such as the Oklahoma City bombing. I've feared that we would reach a point where the work of volunteer tutors and mentors in non-school tutor/mentor programs would become too little, too late.

Thus, I've often told volunteers that we have two choices. You get in front of the snowball now, and try to stop it, and if no one else joins you, you'll probably be crushed by the on-coming avalanche.  Or you can wait until the snowball reaches the bottom of the mountain and you are certain to be destroyed, along with every thing you care for.

The first choice offers the opportunity, no matter how small it appears, that others will join you, and the snowball can be slowed, or even stopped.

The second choice offers no hope.  Unless others do this work for you.

As the Pope said in this TED talk, "Each and every one of us can become a bright candle, a reminder that light will overcome darkness."

And he said "How wonderful would it be if solidarity, this beautiful and, at times, inconvenient word, were not simply reduced to social work, and became, instead, the default attitude in political, economic and scientific choices, as well as in the relationships among individuals, peoples and countries."

That's been my goal with many of my articles, such as this.

It's not easy being the first one to get in front of that snowball. This photo hung in my Grandma's house and after she died in the early 1970s, I  asked for it. I spend much time alone, imaineering a better way to support the many organizations that need to be in place throughout the country, thus, this photo resonates with me.

I used it in this article to show how I and many others are seeking help for the work we do.

I HOPE the Pope's message touches your heart and inspires you to reach out to offer your time, talent, dollars, leadership, advocacy and ideas in one, or more, of the many areas where you might make a difference.

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