A Little Story From A Little Town
Want some good news? I’d like to tell you a little story.
In a little town at the edge of a big lake lived people just like you and me, some were happy, some sad, some nice, some mean, some who hurt deeply those close to them, some who didn’t even know others did that sort of thing.
In the little town was a little agency called Martha’s House, and the people there spent every day helping those who were hurt by others. One day they decided they would like to become unemployed, and thought the best way to do that would be to end domestic violence. So they started a prevention program. Start with the children they said, and a few years down the road we will have world peace.
Well, maybe not, but for every young man who decides to not be abusive in his relationships, a whole future family will be set free from the violence that hurts so many. Thus began the Chobee Steelers Drum band. Teaching character through music and the discipline needed to play in a band, and ongoing healthy relationship programming and mentoring. The desired outcome? Young men who think of others before self, choosing what is best for others before choosing for self, valuing others highly, and sacrificing for the welfare of others. Does it work? Are the goals achievable? How would you know?
Year after year the band played, new members joined, older ones graduated. Boys and girls together, learning, practicing. Practicing music, practicing healthy relationship. And they became quite good at both. And all over the town, and all over the state, the band played, and people listened and watched. And people liked what they saw. But it is in how the young men choose in their everyday lives that the proof of the program becomes known.
One day one of these young men was pumping gas and heard a lady at the next pump cry out. The pump didn’t stop at her prepaid amount, and now she liable to pay for the extra gas. The police were going to be called. The young man hearing all of this, went into the store and paid for the lady’s gasoline with his Christmas money. The happy lady and the store clerk both asked why, and the young man’s reply: because it is the right thing to do, it is the good thing to do, it is what I want to do.
So the young man thought of someone else, did what was best for someone else, and sacrificed his own money happily for someone else, (when he didn’t have to.) But it wasn’t his wife, or girlfriend or mother, or significant other, they said, so how does that count? It counts! As a man is in his heart so he will be. Depth and strength of character, developed and encouraged, from self-seeking and self-serving, to thoughtful and caring, preferring others to self. And there also he found a deep satisfaction, and personal peace.
So the band will play on, the boys will become men of good character, and the little town by the big lake will be a safer, nicer place to live, one young man at a time, and the people at Martha’s House will spend their time fishing, (well, maybe one day.)
Jonathan Bean – Executve Director, Martha’s House