Light Up The Night

Light Sticks
This was a beautiful piece in the New York Times today.



It was about how two sons handled the final hours with their father after he was removed from off life support.



With the prodding of one son, the father reluctantly agrees to see a Rabbi before his death, and this Rabbi describes to the dying man the meaning of his (and our) life:



“Imagine your whole life now, and for each [and every] time you did something good, imagine it as a little glow you left behind that lights a dark road stretching back in time. It’s a long, long row of lights now, isn’t it?”



Remembering over time, the father nods, smiles and is obviously comforted in this final hour as he sees in his mind’s eye all the shinning lights for the acts of kindness that he was leaving behind. 



Isn’t this what life is all about?



Every choice we make, everything we do, can have an amazing impact and leave light when before there was just darkness. 



Imitating G-d in creation, we create light separating it from the darkness out there, good from evil…we create the future. 



Our goal…light up the night. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Changing Regrets Into Fulfillment

Death_bed

The Guardian (1 February 2012) published an important article called “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.”

The items mentioned were compiled by a palliative nurse caring for patients at end of life.

The list is a wake up call for many of us who work hard, but in the process perhaps forget the most important aspects of life are the people we love and the pursuit of opportunities to really be ourselves and achieve our purpose.

Here is the list of top 5 things you can do different in your life before it passes you by:

1. Be your true self–“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

– Ask yourself what are your dreams and how can you make them happen!

2. Work less–“I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.”

– Ask yourself are you living to work or working to live?

3. Express yourself–“I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.”

– Ask yourself if you’ve told significant others how you really feel and genuinely worked things out with them.

4. Maintain relationships–“I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends”

– Ask yourself have you been generous with your time, emotions, and material things with family, friends, and others important to you?

5. Seek out opportunities for happiness–“I wish that I had let myself be happier.”

– Ask yourself what does happiness even really mean to you and how can you find it amidst the daily grind.

Life is always too short and everyone makes mistakes and has regrets–that’s part of being human, learning, and growing.

But if we can get our priorities straights and set clear goals, perhaps we can leave the world with less bitterness and more fulfillment in lives granted and well spent.

(Source Photo: here with Attribution to Raspberries1)

Milgram And The Moral Fiber Of Leadership

Four year ago (7 November 2007), I wrote a blog called The Milgram Experiment And Enterprise Architecture, which discussed lessons from this experiment in terms of the awesome responsibility that we all have, but especially people in leadership positions, to do the “right thing.
Today, I sat with my mouth agape seeing the Milgram Experiments repeated 50 years later in a study for television, conducted by the Discovery Channel, where they asked “How Evil Are We?”
I watched one participant after another administer what they believed where painful shocks to a another person with a heart condition screaming and begging for the experiment to stop.
Of 11 people, only one women stepped up, stood up, and refused to participate, saying that she could not harm another human being.
All the rest, continued to administer what they thought were painful shocks to an unwilling screaming participant having heart pain, simply by being prodded by a man in a lab coat at the back of the room saying “the experiment requires you to continue” and “it’s absolutely essential you continue.”
To the viewers horror, the participants continue to to push the lever to shock the other person at an even higher voltage!
When they ask the people afterwards who administered the shock, who would’ve been responsible if the person receiving the shock had a heart attack and died? one lady immediately turns around and points to the other man in the lab coat.
Like in the evil Nazi death camps, “authority remains a decisive force” and people will do horrible acts saying they were “just following orders.”
In the Discovery program, when they add a second person to the experiment who stops the shocking and refuses to go on, only then does the other person refuse as well. 
So aside from the lesson that we must always safeguard our own moral compass and do the right thing even in the face of others prodding us to do things that are immoral, unethical, or illegal, we can also learn that by speaking up when we see something wrong, we can indeed influence others to do what’s right as well, and in essence “lead by example”.
My hope and prayer is that all of us can overcome negative impacts of nature and nurture to see with clarity when something is not right and have the courage to stand up and say and do something about it.
Like the sole participant who refused to administer the shocks and said that she couldn’t go home at night and look herself in the mirror if she did these bad things, we too can live our lives so that when we go home to our maker, we can look at our lives with our consciences clear and at peace, and perhaps even having made a real and lasting difference in this world.