I spent a lot of time these past 30 minutes thinking of what to talk to you about. And I spent the entire year of 2001 thinking about this year - 2002 - and the years to come.
Marther Luther King, Jr. Day is coming up soon - and I know some of you will re-read his speech, "I Have A Dream."
But, I, too, have a dream.
I dream that we will begin to appreciate ourselves more - for who we are. That for all of our weaknesses, we will begin to consider our strengths.
Last year, I've gotten to know a woman in Indonesia - Sylvia - and we have become friends. I see in Sylvia so many positive qualities: she's humorous and witty - remember, English is not her first language. She's intelligent and insightful. And she's tough and resilient, having experienced the undulations of life and become stronger. But she doesn't see it and chooses to live her life at a level far below where she could be.
Over the year, I've told her of her qualities, hoping through reinforcement that she too will begin to see them in herself. Begin to appreciate them. And begin to grow and nurture them. Perhaps in time, she will hear me. And see herself. For who she really is. And unleash the magnificence within her.
Yes, I dream that we will begin to see and appreciate ourselves.
I also dream that we will begin to appreciate others more. For what they do and what they give.
I read on the Internet yesterday an article about the Power of Thank You. It talked about a woman who got a job, succeeding while the other interviewed candidates did not. It wasn't because she was so much more qualified, because she wasn't. It wasn't because she was so much more connected, because she wasn't. It wasn't because of what she knew or who she knew.
It was because she sent a simple Thank-You card to the interviewers. She was the only one to spend a few extra minutes to show her appreciation to the interviewers who spent a number of hours to meet with her and the others.
Yes, I dream that we will begin to see what others do for us and show our appreciation in return.
And I dream that we will begin to appreciate all of ourselves in our entirety.
I know that all of you already know I've spoken about. None of this is new to you.And I know you practice it as well.
Yes, we as human beings together have so very far to go. But begin to consider how so very far we have already come. Think of who and where we were not last month, not last year, not 20 years ago. But 100 years ago. 300 years ago. 1000 years ago. And you'll see that we indeed have come a long way.
It begins with each of us as individuals. And as we take ourselves into the world, we serve as examples for others to follow. Not as leaders. Not as preachers. Not as demagogues. But as ourselves as examples for others to see. In the workplace. On the streets. With our friends and our families.
Margaret Mead said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
"The devil is in the details."Yet, a famous architect and designer, Ludwig Mies van der
Rohe, said that, "God is in the details."
Let us do something powerful this year, undistracted by our fears, undistracted by events of the world that tell us we have a long way to go, undistracted by those who would push us back.
Let us go ahead and begin to make those changes so that when we do cast our pearls before others, they are ready, willing, and able to see the gifts we have given them.