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Building Our Character

Much goes into building our character, and I daresay, not much of it is pleasant. True character and integrity arent usually made of sunshine, smiles, and tea bubbles. Most of the time, tears, blood, and gristle are what forge a successful young adult from his/her humble beginnings as a child.

There are moments in life when true victory rises from selfless acts of encouragement and the will to drive others. One such moment happened during a cross country race:

"Kenyan runner Abel Mutai was only a few meters from the finish line, but got confused with the signs and stopped, thinking he had finished the race. A Spanish man, Iván Fernández, was right behind him and, realizing what was going on, started shouting to the Kenyan to keep running.

Mutai did not know Spanish and did not understand. Yet Fernández was diligent and directed him further; Fernández pushed Mutai to victory. A reporter asked Iván, 'Why did you do this?' Iván replied, 'My dream is that one day we can have some sort of community life where we push ourselves and help each other win.' The reporter insisted 'But why did you let the Kenyan win?' Ivan replied, 'I didn't let him win, he was going to win. The race was his.'"

Fernández knew there would be no merit to such a "victory," that there would be no honor in defeating a man who was just lost. The race was won by Mutai, the fastest runner in the race. He deserved to cross the finish line. Honor and integrity — the bliss of doing the right thing — went to a good sportsman who taught many that victory can be had by being a blessing to others.

The worst type of loss is one from which we do not learn. However, darker still is winning what we never earned. Our values are transmitted from generation to generation. Being of gentle men and fair ladies should not be things of times past. Kindness and compassion need to remain on our minds and in our homes. Our communities are better when we value and teach the joy of being a blessing to others. So, I hope you find an opportunity to give a bit of your valuable time and priceless spirit to someone in need. Today, I hope you, too, find yourself blessed.

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