Memorial Day Hero

Preparing for this Memorial Day weekend, I have been thinking about heroes not usually counted. I choose Booker T. Washington. If you’ll hang with me for a paragraph or two I’ll tell you why.

Mental illness among youth is now considered an epidemic. https://yourot.com/parenting-club/2017/5/24/what-are-we-doing-to-our-children

• 1 in 5 children has mental health problems
• 43% increase in ADHD
• 37% increase in teen depression
• 200% increase in suicide rate in kids 10-14 years old
The result of this is felt and expressed:

“Ín America, there is ‘…an underlying feeling of inevitable negativity.’”

John Eldredge and his adult son Blaine (Ransomed Heart Podcast) talked this week about envy. (Jealousy is wanting what someone has or can do or how they are blessed. Envy is a driving need for what someone else has and the deep-seated desire that the other person(s) not have it.) Envy shows up in 2017 in the current political hatred pointing to the 2016 Presidential election and social justice claims. I think it drives the negative aspect of removing Confederate statues—much like the destruction of icons by ISIS.
Eldredge says envy is expressed by the pervasive “Offended Self.” The victim mentality and generations are offended that they do not have all that others enjoy. They feel they are getting the short end of the stick and they are targeted for nothing but negativity. The offended self is worth more contemplation than we have room to talk about here.
Martin Luther King, Jr., said of Booker T. Washington,

“He lit a torch in Alabama; then darkness fled.”

It is ludicrous to think of anything I lack as I contemplate what Washington lacked and climbed over and fought through. He adamantly refused to see himself as a victim. He was not bound by offense, he was committed to establishing ways to solve problems. He said, “…must not lay too much stress on their grievances to the exclusion of their opportunities.” A historian says, “Booker’s challenge was to transform the values, frame the habits, and instill the knowledge that…success required.”

The agenda at Tuskegee was:

• Habits of thrift
• A love for work
• Economy
• Ownership of property
• Bank accounts—understanding money and how to handle money.

Education—whatever else it includes—must teach these!

Mark Zuckerburg in his commencement address at Harvard nails it:

“…give everyone the freedom they need to pursue purpose.” Create a world where everyone has a sense of purpose.

That goal by Zuckerman and the Booker T. Washington education agenda is the answer to the offended self and the envy that kills. How does that happen? Let us ask God to raise up a generation of entrepreneurs, mentors, ministers, teachers, parents and grandparents who see their calling and their own life purpose as stimulating their tribe and flock to catch a life purpose.

So, I choose Booker T. Washington—my hero on this Memorial Day.

Then Darkness Fled—the liberating wisdom of Booker T. Washington, by Stephen Mansfield.

©2017 D. Dean Benton dean@deanbenton.org
Writer, Wonderer, Ponderer, Meanderer

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