– The Tale of Despereaux
Jill Scott – “Nothing is for Nothing”
There’s purpose in every bit of the journey. You just have to find it. Facing the pain of the past can be quite a challenge, one that I’m handling right now. Yet I face this pain courageously, knowing that once I’m past it, I’m past it. A firm believer in ‘everything happens for a reason’, my days are filled with creating meaning. Why did this happen? What was this person’s thought process? How can I use this experience to help myself or others?
By Michael Jackson
On March 21, 2001, Michael Jackson went to Oxford University to promote the Heal the Kids initiative and introduce his Children’s Universal Bill of Rights. In light of all the healing that needs to happen in the world, I found this speech appropriate. For those in the process of planning or currently undertaking parenthood, this speech provides some great food for thought about how to interact with your children. However, as it really does take a village to raise a child, being a parent isn’t a prerequisite to understanding the importance of the ideas discussed here.
Thank you, thank you dear friends, from the bottom of my heart, for such a loving and spirited welcome, and thank you, Mr President, for your kind invitation to me which I am so honoured to accept. I also want to express a special thanks to you Shmuley, who for 11 years served as Rabbi here at Oxford. You and I have been working so hard to form Heal the Kids, as well as writing our book about childlike qualities, and in all of our efforts you have been such a supportive and loving friend. And I would also like to thank Toba Friedman, our director of operations at Heal the Kids, who is returning tonight to the alma mater where she served as a Marshall scholar, as well as Marilyn Piels, another central member of our Heal the Kids team.
I am humbled to be lecturing in a place that has previously been filled by such notable figures as Mother Theresa, Albert Einstein, Ronald Reagan, Robert Kennedy and Malcolm X. I’ve even heard that Kermit the Frog has made an appearance here, and I’ve always felt a kinship with Kermit’s message that it’s not easy being green. I’m sure he didn’t find it any easier being up here than I do!
I was raised in a city I hated. When exactly it occurred to me that I didn’t like it, I’m not sure. Perhaps my mother’s feelings rubbed off on my sister and me, but for as long as I can recall, I wanted to be elsewhere. Where? Just somewhere else.
I’ve spent the last few months of my life, not elsewhere, but in my hometown, precisely where I didn’t want to be–not for this long anyway. While it takes just a short matter of days to be reminded of all the reasons that prompted me to leave, my family is here and spending an extended amount of time with them after being away for eight years is warming. Both positive and negative emotions have confronted me and I’ve been somewhat conflicted as to what my next move should be: Stay? Go? Where? For how long? The vision for my immediate future is fuzzy; I haven’t been able to place myself anywhere. In the past, this indicated moving somewhere new.
This morning, South Korea invaded my mind. Teaching English there is an idea that’s visited me countless times over the past five years. Maybe I should just do it, I thought. Do it, so I won’t have any regrets. A longstanding desire to travel the planet resurfaced and immediately I was taken by this idea of journeying foreign lands. Would it take me closer to what I want to be my life’s work? Hmm…no. Not really. But I would get to live in another country and see some of Asia. My haphazard life adventures have always taken me places…but what if this time, I’m not supposed to go anywhere?