The true measure of the greatness of a person, 

a town, 

a city, 

a country…

a people

is not in the fortunes we amass…

not in caring solely about ourselves





we will find…

before we are deceased…

the true measure of the greatness of a person

a town,

a city,

a country,

a people…

is in how we treat those less fortunate than us…


those who have the least.


Gandhi was a kind, nonviolent man whose wisdom is widespread…

When asked what he thought about Western Civilization

“I think it would be a good idea.” he said.


A civilization that treated all people with tenderness, 

with love and with affection

that accepted everyone in life 

without reservations or exceptions.


A civilization filled with tolerance, 

with mercy and charity…

A civilization where people work together…

where everyone was free…


As Gandhi said it is a good idea…

a civilization that is kindhearted…

and if we are going to create one…


perhaps we should get started.

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She knew her daughter’s heart was pure 

and that compassion she’d never lack

when the leaves began falling from the trees 


and she tried to put them back.

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They heard her before they saw her…sitting deserted in the sand.

a solitary woman…sobbing into her hands.


Her head was bowed, her shoulders slumped…her legs were intertwined…

The oceans waves had reached her knees…but she didn’t seem to mind.


They wondered if they should walk to her or should they turn and go…

knowing sometimes one has to be alone to allow their tears to flow…


I’ve often wished that tears were colored coded…so when they fall like rain

we could tell if they were happy tears…tears of sorrow…tears of pain.


For if the color of her tears could make her feeling known

they could see if she wanted company…or to be left alone.


She looked up, trying to smile at them as teardrops filled her eyes

“I love to come to the ocean,” she said…”whenever I need to cry.”


“Whenever I am feeling sad…it’s the one place I can be

where every tear that leaves my eyes will fall into the sea.”


“Where my tears once they hit the ocean…immediately blend in

so you can’t tell where the ocean ends and where my tears begin.”


They sat on either side of her…they never said a word

they listened to her crying…to the ocean…to the birds…


And as the tide kept gently rising…amid her muffled groans

they knew they had to stay with her…so she would not be alone.


So three people now sat in the sand…two waiting patiently


for the other’s tears to finish raining…and melt into the sea.

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Soon after World War 2 was weathered

The United Nations got together…

and after hearing of the peoples plight

created a declaration…of human rights.


Appalled at all the lives we lost

and sickened by the Holocaust

The UN set about decreeing

A set of rights for human beings.


Every person has these rights they declared

In any location…anywhere.

Every human…from their inception

Every human…without exception.


Every human is endowed they said

with reason, a conscience and should use their head

and every person everywhere should

act in the spirit of brotherhood.


Since the UN declaration 70 years ago

We have made progress…but much too slow.

We have not learned from our mistakes

and now our existence is at stake!


We must treat each person with dignity

each as a member of our family.

For when we become kind humans we will find

one world…one family…one humankind.


Or 70 years from now

If we don’t ensure everyone’s human rights…somehow…

If we continue to live in a world where human rights are bereft…


there won’t be any humans left.


I wonder…


What would happen if, as a country,

our hearts were front and center…

if our door was always open 

to anyone who wants to enter?


What would happen if we didn’t wait for others

if we did not delay

being compassionate and accepting

but instead…we lead the way?


I wonder…


What would happen if we could see the light in everyone we meet?

What kind of wonderful world would this be…

if we treated everyone

as if that light….


is all that we could see?

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It was an anthropological study…that I shall now describe:

A basket of fruit was placed near a tree…and the children of an African tribe


were told they needed not only to be fast but also resolute

because the one who gets to the basket first…gets to eat all the fruit.


When they were told to run,…they didn’t at first…instead like birds of a feather

they each took the hand of the child next to them…and then they ran…together.


Together they ran to the basket…fast and resolute

Together they reached the basket… and together…they ate the fruit.


When asked why they chose to run that way…”UBUNTU” said one lad…

adding, “How can one of us be happy…if all the other ones are sad?”


In South Africa the word UBUNTU…means ‘I am because we are’

It’s a belief we are defined by our compassion and kindness towards others…

and it’s a word that travels far


for every culture, every civilization…across the land, the sky, the seas

has a word with similar meaning…In America…it’s humanity.


Arabic, French, German and Hindi have similar words like these:

(Al Insaniyya, Humanite, Menschlichkeit, Manavata)

So do the Spanish, the Italians, the Finnish as well as the Chinese

(Humanidad, Umanita, Ihmiskunta (Renlei) 


It’s a simple word…humanity…that has an allure…a wonderful attraction

but it remains only a word…until we put it into action.


I’m glad to see so many cultures have this word as part of their folklore…

I think, however, the entire world…need to practice this word a little more.


We need to spread humanity and let our actions travel far….

We need to teach the world UBUNTU…'I am because we are’.

We need to follow the example of the children…we need to be fast and resolute…


We need to join hands as one…together…and together enjoy our fruit.

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When we take candy away from a child…

chances are he will be riled…

and we we take a toy away

no telling what she’s going to say….

but on this one point you can rely

in either case…the child will cry.


He becomes upset…he can’t understand

why would we take candy from his hand?

She becomes distraught…she begins to stir

why would we take her toy from her?

This happens when we take something a child desires…

but what happens when we take something they require?


When we take a child from his Mom and Dad

chances are he will be sad…

chances are she does not know

the reason why we treat her so…

and I’m sure they do not understand

why we’ve ripped them from their parents’ hands….


America deserves to be vilified

when as a country we separate parent and child.

For how can a country that is supposed to be great

surrender itself to fear and hate

and close its borders to those in need

no matter how much they beg and plead?


And though there are many in our country willing to ignore their pleas

there are also many of us who disagree,

who feel when America is filled with hate

when we lose our compassion…we can’t be great.

Who know this will eventually take a toll…

because when we harden our hearts…


we lose our soul!

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He did not understand his daughter…he had not intended to be cruel

It’s just…when she told him she was gay…well…

He was from a different time…a different school.   


He prayed to his God, he attended church…he even sang their hymns…

But he still could not wrap his head around what she was telling him.


His first reaction was anger…he said things she couldn’t forget…

Nasty, hurtful, unkind things…he later would regret.


You see all his daughter wanted was his love…

a love that he denied

and in her grief and sorrow…she committed suicide.


It was only after she was gone…when his heart began to break

that he realized he had been wrong…that he’d made a huge mistake.


That his daughter was his daughter…wether straight or bi or gay

and he should have showed her that he loved her each and every day.


Ye,s he realized her life was special…the life he helped create…

He realized she was wonderful the way she was…

just a little bit too late.


Now he tells the world their story…hoping love will conquer hate….

Hoping other parents hear his cries…and for them...it’s not too late.


And I wonder…in a world that’s filled with anger…with bigotry and hate…


How many need to learn this lesson…before it is too late?

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