No. 548



Did you hear about the man who quit smoking and found out he had been eating some things he didn't like? While not original, when this thought came to mind I was reminded of hearing the late Earl Nightingale tell about a television interview he had several years ago. This was one of those live interview type shows where the host sits in an easy chair and poses questions for the guest to answer. The idea being to create an informative and interesting dialogue the people in the television audience would enjoy. Earl said before they went on the air the host greeted him warmly and they enjoyed a nice casual conversation.
However, once the cameras were turned on, and remember this was live television, his nice cordial host turned on him. His first words were "Mr. Nightingale, being the positive person you are and being known as the Dean of Personal Motivation, surely there are some things you don't like." I'm equally sure that Earl's answer was one of the biggest shocks he had ever had, since getting into the interview business. Earl said "Yes, there are a lot of things I don't like. One of them is this television program and you are another." With this he calmly unhooked his microphone and walked off the set, leaving his host with 25 minutes of live air time to fill.
While I have never had anything in my career that would even remotely compare to this, I saw another television interview a while back that has had a profound effect on my thinking. If I may, I would like to share the essence of this interview with you, as it may also affect you in a positive way. This interview was being conducted by a well-known television personality, and her guests were Linda Randall, an award-winning African-American gospel singer, and her mother. Linda is a tremendously talented singer and she blesses my heart every time I hear her sing. She was reared by two Godly parents and she has such a sweet spirit.
Her father is deceased but her mother said, "When Linda was growing up there were two things we always stressed to her. One was honesty and the other was humility." As I sat there and continued to watch the interview, and I saw the tremendous respect that Linda had for her mother, a feeling of love just swept over me. It was at this point that I discovered a way to express some deep feelings that I had possessed for a long time, but had never been able to crystallize my thoughts and put them into words.
Linda, her mother and I have a lot of things in common, but the color of our skin is not one of them. They are black and I am white. At this point, I realized the magnitude and the truth of what Dr. Martin Luther King said many years ago. He said, "It is not the color of a person's skin, but rather the content of his character that matters most." When you think about it, none of us had any choice in the matter of our parents, the color of our skin, where we were born, the social status we were born into or any of those things.
Personally, this has helped me to better understand some things that are happening in our society today. Millions of us in our nation were appalled during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when we saw hundreds of people, mostly black, looting stores in downtown New Orleans. Taking food when people are hungry I can understand, but not taking plasma, television sets and anything else that was not nailed down.
What I better understand now, is that the vast majority of these people were not as fortunate as Linda Randall. They do not or did not have Godly parents who taught them respect and humility. It's not skin color, but the actions, attitude and behavior we should dislike.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, Ark. 72034. To support literacy, buy his book, "Learning, Earning & Giving Back.")