Changing Lives

James was a child of parents who were of African American, Irish, and Native American heritage.  James never knew his father, and at the age of 5 was sent to live with his mother’s parents.  The move was so trauma filling that he developed a severe stutter.  He quit talking and was mute for 8 years.

James enjoyed writing poetry, and this led to a relationship with his English teacher who helped him to resume talking.  As James remembers:  “Stuttering is painful.  In Sunday School, I tried to read my lessons, and the children behind me were falling on the floor with laughter.”

In high school, James resumed talking and was able to overcome his stutter.  When he went to college, he became an ROTC student.  While wanting to be commissioned to serve in the Korean War, James decided to pursue an interest in theater.

Once his military obligations were done, James decided to pursue an acting career.  His first roles were on stage where he became known as an outstanding Shakespearian actor.  He then moved on to film where he appeared on such movies as Dr. Strangelove, The Great White Hope, Coming to America, Field of Dreams, the Hunt for Red October, and Patriot Games.

But perhaps James Earl Jones is best known as the voice of Darth Vader in the Star Wars movies, Mufasa in the Lion King, and for the unforgettable line:  “This is CNN.”

Think how James Earl Jones’ life was changed by his English teacher, who took an interest in him.  There may be no greater accomplishment for an individual than having changed the life of another for the better.

Changing a life does not require any special skill other than caring.  All of us have the opportunities to help others and to give them direction.  Something that requires very little skill is also something that few can say they have done.  Why is that?

Helping change a person’s life is a very private act.  You don’t do it for your resume or for a promotion.  It’s also not in any job description.  It’s something you do as a sign of your humanity.

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“Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.  Be kind.” – Originally posted by Pinterest

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