In 1872, at the age of 16, Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) decided he wanted to go to school.
He walked 500 miles to Hampton Institute in Virginia, and presented himself to the head teacher. Washington later recalled, “Having been so long without proper food, a bath, and change of clothing, I did not make a very favorable impression upon her, and I could see at once that there were doubts in her mind about me.”
Finally she said to him, “The adjoining recitation room needs cleaning. Take the broom and do it.” A lesser person might have been insulted by being assigned menial work. But Washington recognized immediately that this was his big chance. He swept that room three times and dusted it four times. He even cleaned the walls and the closets. Then he reported to the head teacher that the job was finished.
The head teacher examined that room like a drill sergeant. She even took a handkerchief and rubbed it across the top of a door. When she could not find a particle of dirt, she said, “I guess you will do to enter this institution.”
As a 16-year old, Booker T. Washington could not do many things. But he could clean a room, and he did it gloriously. Extraordinary living begins with ordinary gifts. He went on to become a noted and cherished black American educator, author, orator and adviser to several presidents.
Thanks to Brett Blair for these thoughts.
What gifts and graces do YOU have that YOU have not fully activated?
GOD GIVES US TWO GIFTS: ONE IS CHOICE AND ONE IS CHANCE. THE CHOICE OF A GOOD LIFE AND THE CHANCE TO MAKE IT THE BEST!
I have been working with students in Haiti for almost 20 years. Most of them spend one to two hours a day each way, walking to and from school. Gangs are rampant. Like Booker T. Washington, students will do anything in Haiti to learn. YOU can help me build a new school in Roseaux, Haiti where the 7.2 earthquake hit. Our Virtual Event, Building Dreams, is TONIGHT at 7:00 PM CST. Just go to: www.foodforthepoor.org/buildingdreams. It is a fast-paced event letting you know what we’re doing. And baseball great, Andre Dawson, is a wonderful guest. SEE YOU TONIGHT AT 7:00 PM CST.