When I was in junior high, grade eight to be exact, together with the students in the higher grades we formed our own 4-H club under the leadership of our biology teacher. As you may know, the 4-Hs stand for Head, Heart, Hand, Health. We met regularly every Friday evening after school.
Our community was small and so was our village where everyone knew everyone else. We planted seeds and flowers, we cleaned the streets of the village. We didn’t have janitors to clean our school, so we took turns cleaning it. Our pledge was the 4-H pledge:
I pledge my head to clearer thinking,
my heart to greater loyalty,
my hands to larger service
and my health to better living,
for my club, my community, my country, and my world.
I loved our motto “to make the best better” even though at the time I was too young to fully understand my pledge. But I worked tirelessly with my friends on the different projects that were given to us. And the thought that I was doing something for my community kept me happy.
As I look back, I am saddened to think that I left that dear place due to some stupid and meaningless war. I say stupid because in my conscious mind no war no matter for what reason is good. There is nothing more precious than human life in this world. And for authorities and political parties to kill and abuse human beings is for me personally unjustifiable regardless of the reason. In the words of Viktor E. Frankl:
“Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated, thus, everyone’s task is unique as his specific opportunity to implement it.”
On a day like today, when after watching the news and reading about loss of life due to war or explosions or a random shooting by some maniac, I sit at my desk with a blank sheet of paper and try to write or review my mission statement in life. I think about all the opportunities that I have lost, of all the people that have disappeared from my life, of all those who are still with me, of all the things that I still have. I think about my beliefs and paradigms, and I try to sort out my priorities and channel my behavior accordingly. I try to list what’s important in my life. I feel responsible for my own life. I try to see the world through these givens and things get clearer in my head. I see the world through this person’s eyes. Whatever I have makes me a unique individual. And hence I pledge to take whatever I have, whatever I am given in this life and make the best of it.
Robert M. Persig wrote:
“The place to improve the world is first in one’s own heart and head and hands.”