Wednesday, 21 March 2007

From zero to hero

I read an extraordinary story of how Rene Godefroy smuggled himself into USA with US$5 in his pocket and zero command of English. Today, he's a top motivational speaker in USA. I have not heard of him before but there is a lesson to be learned from his story.

Born poor and sickly in a tiny village in Haiti, he was abandoned by his father and left behind by his mother when she went to work in the city. None of the villagers believed he would make it to adulthood.

When he returned to visit his village 9 years later, he remembered how there was almost no opportunity to break the barrier of poverty. Lots of village folks, most of them still barefooted and half-naked, came to see if he was indeed the sickly child they once knew.

The villagers didn’t change a bit. They came expecting handouts and were saying how bad he was as a kid until an old villager intervened: “Now, all of you come here to remind him of his past because you expect money. Why didn’t you give him some encouragement when he needed it?

After today, I hope you will learn to be kinder to the unfortunate kids in the village. This is a lesson for all of you. Treat people with respect, regardless of their circumstances.”

Such wise words! We are not living in villages like them. We have schools, electricity and broadcasting agencies, yet many of us think like villagers. Here, the cream of the crop are singled out and lauded, then sent to the top schools and groomed to be elitist while slow learners are denigrated from a tender age. Such is the harsh reality of life, when will we ever learn?

No comments: