“Man must cease attributing his problems to his environment, and learn again to exercise his will — his personal responsibility in the realm of faith and morals.”

– Albert Schweitzer

 

 
394 …6/11/2017

It Isn’t Just The Words That Kill

# 2 in Series

Research studies have proven that the tone of voice used when words are spoken, transmits no less than fourteen (14) messages in addition to the words themselves.  In the army, in 1945, I learned that “Yes Sir.” Could convey:  respect, admiration, love, disdain, hate, contempt, loyalty, I’ll do it when I choose to, I’ll do it at once, or simple acknowledgement of the officer’s existence.

Two of us sat listening to a man tell us of his dream for helping kids to stop bullying classmates. He had developed a methodology that engaged parents, kids in a school, and the community that supported the school. His enthusiasm was contagious, we wanted to help him in this and we expected little in return beyond the joy of helping him succeed.

He was not a young man and wanted to succeed in putting his proven methodology into as many schools as possible.

He was different.

He had degrees from PhD down, from high ranked colleges, had been a beloved teacher who caused students to want to learn, he’d been a Principal and a Superintendent of High Schools, a renowned high paid professional in sports . . . . and he had dark skin.

We were joined by a person my partner and I did not know well, however, he was loaded with enthusiasm, energy and self-confidence. His business was helping people to get funding for projects.

He asked our friend questions about his background and goals and methodology. He was smooth as soft butter on hot toast.

That night I thought about the day, I remembered that our friend had been subdued when the meeting was over.  I’d not noticed it when we broke up, now I replayed the whole meeting, when finished I had a sense of dread I shared with the Spirit, alone.  I prayed that our friend would overcome as he obviously had many times in his life.

Why This?

In the replay, I heard the tone of the words that our newcomer had used.  Everything was a “put down”, the message was clear, you are a black man and will never make your methodology work in white schools because you are Black.  If what you say about your accomplishments turns out to be true, you are an anomaly.

Three days later, our friend went to a conference of educators in another state.

When the conference was over he did not return my emails and would not respond to my phone calls. It took my wife and me several weeks to discover where he had moved to. It was a neighborhood where everyone, no matter what skin color, had retreated to when life no longer was interesting.  When he answered the door after my wife pounded on it over and over at ten in the morning, he was a beaten shell of the man I remembered.  We did not stay long, we went away praying for him and crying; we were a long time recovering.

The next time you feel smug about yourself and your abilities, ask God To Kick Your Ass Fifty Times.

Nuff Said !!!

Wes Zimmerman
Leader in the production of Reconfigureyourlife.com
Starting over. Staying together happily
Email: wes@7one.com
(480) 628-2450
©Wesley W. Zimmerman 6/11/2017

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