Charley’s World – Episode Thirty Two

As Charley reflected on the previous day’s effort, he began to be concerned about how they would accomplish all that they envisioned for the Center. He felt that all of the learning efforts were essential, but where should they start? This is where he wanted this day’s discussion to go.

Charley began by asking his team: “Looking over what we did yesterday, is there one of the learning efforts that is the catalyst that is essential for the others?

Nellie was quick to respond. “Think about the history of our community. Our ancestors came here because they needed jobs. They found work here, but that work was dangerous and low-paying. There was little dignity in their lives, and they had limited self-esteem. It’s almost like that lack of self-esteem is passed down through generations. Maybe it’s part of our DNA. It seems as if we need to work on self-esteem to start.

I couldn’t agree more,” said Homer. “I’ve lived in this community for over 70 years, and I’ve seen how potential can be destroyed. It’s like we want to make people feel like they are nothing. But I wonder how we can work on self-esteem?

I’ll tell you what won’t work,” said Pastor Sophia. “I believe I’m much more effective in my office working one-on-one with one of my congregants than I ever am when I stand behind the pulpit on Sunday. When I give a sermon, I’m performing a ritual. When I help someone in my office, I have an opportunity to make a difference in their lives.

I’ve seen the same thing here in the Learning Center,” said Charley. “But I only work with just a few people at a time. How do we increase the scale of our efforts?

You’ve already done that,” said Nellie. “When you helped me after Natty came to you, I’ve helped others with their own self-esteem. When you helped the coaches build winning teams, each of those athletes began to gain self-esteem. Just think of how you helped Sam with his self-esteem and how he in turn helped others. Every one of us is paying it forward.

What a wonderful way to look at increasing self-esteem across the community,” said Sandra. “I shouldn’t say this, but what you are doing doesn’t require funding. You just need to ask everyone you help to help another person. It sounds like you are creating a quiet revolution where the only casualties are despair and grievance.

With that, let’s spend the afternoon thinking about our operational plans for building self-esteem,” Charley said.

Little did Charley realize that the faith of a little girl knocking on his door would lead to a community who had faith in themselves and others.

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“Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.” – Judy Garland

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