No. 1174



Albert Schweitzer, who was a Nobel Peace Prize winner, missionary and doctor, once said, “The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.” Well, Doctor, you have been gone a long time and I certainly agree with you, but if you were still around you would see a much-changed world. From my perspective, I believe the single most destructive element in our society today is something we call “greed” on the part of far too many people who have the desire to win at all costs and wanting much more than their fair share.
While we see a lot of people today who are greedy and pile up massive amounts of wealth, I have yet to see one single person who took it with them when they died, and from all indications, many are not happy when they passed from this life. As the saying goes, “I have never seen a U-Haul behind a Hearse.” This is just something to ponder as I share what is on my heart today.
To be sure, I have been so blessed to be able to share thoughts, ideas and mostly positive information through this column for the past 20-plus years. My goal and greatest hope has always been to share information that will help you in some way.
As I look back over the years, my greatest satisfaction came during the years when I was working as a businessman with our schools, and working with teachers and students. I did not earn a lot of money, but the satisfaction was wonderful. As a result of this experience, back in 1976 I wrote a little booklet called “How to Plan Your Life” for school and college use only. It was during this time that I conducted over 50 life and career planning seminars, and actually went through this workbook, step by step, to help students plan their short-term future and help them prepare for life after they graduated from high school.
During this time I was making several speeches each week, and this activity helped to prepare me for producing a daily radio program, a weekly newspaper column, and then in 2005 to found a unique, all-volunteer giving back literacy project. All of this time I was earning a good income, not getting rich, but my needs were more than being met each year. The one thing I was able to do, thanks to my mother, was to become a “saver,” and over time save for a rainy day. The biggest mistake that I believe couples and individuals make today is they don’t save any money. I read somewhere that if they had an emergency, 40 percent of the people in America do not have even $400 in cash to meet their needs.
To be sure, our needs are different at the various stages of our life. In my book titled, “Learning, Earning & Giving Back,” I break life down to three 25-year periods of time. The first period is Learning, when we get most of our education. The next period is Earning, which is when we use what we have learned to earn a living with a job or a career. The last period is Giving Back, where I am now. It’s my belief that we should “give back” every step of the way, but if we have succeeded financially we can do more when we are older.
This was my goal when I founded the literacy project “A Bookcase for Every Child” and our committee and others helped greatly. We give personalized bookcases and a starter set of books to children being reared in low-income families. To date we have given 700 personalized bookcases and books here in Conway, Arkansas, and over 2,000 total in five other states.
My attitude is the same as Dr. Schweitzer’s -- the only reward I seek is for the Lord to say, “Well done, thy good and faithful servant.”
(Editor’s Note: THE DEAL OF THE CENTURY – Begin your day on a positive note – 365 days for $12. This will benefit the Bookcase for Every Child project. Go to to subscribe.)