Monday, December 27, 2010

A Message For Our Time

Giving to and helping others has always been a recurrent theme in the Holiday Season. But this year, as the 2010 "farewell" retrospectives were presented on various TV news shows, one message was constantly on the lips of newscasters because of the death of its author, Ted Sorensen: "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country." (Sorensen was the gifted advisor to John F. Kennedy, who made the famous quote a focal point of JFK's Inaugural speech.)

Written at a time when we had elected the first president born in the 20th Century - a man who was addressing a "new generation" - the "Ask" quotation acknowledged the importance of collaboration among the citizens of our country to meet the challenges ahead in space, education, fighting poverty, foreign policy and health. Kennedy was seeking to unify the nation by asking us to abandon our selfish impulses, while underscoring the critical importance of each individual American's power to create positive change. He was advocating that we come together and make some sacrifices, becoming a team that contributed to the greater good. We must be a nation of "givers" not "takers."

And so I thought what a perfect world it would be if we could extend this famous message by substituting other important institutions in our life for the word "country" - for example, "marriage," the name of the company that you work for, the extracurricular organization that you belong to, the church or synagogue you are affiliated with, and so on. Think of the pride and satisfaction you would feel!

Now take one more step. Imagine the actions that will follow. Then: act.

Technorati Tags: Ted Sorensen, John F. Kennedy, communications, public relations, business, Makovsky


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