School children pay floral tributes to Gandhi. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Friday, Oct. 2, 2009 was the 140th birth anniversary of a very powerful role model in my life and the lives of many others, Mohandas K. Gandhi. He showed the world that one man can live with such impeccability and integrity that he could lead and become a peaceful force that would empower a whole nation. The way he lived his life became a true model in our world for living with integrity and love in intent, thought, word and deed.
There is a well-known story of a woman asking Gandhi one day to advise her son to stop eating sugar because it was bad for him. She lamented that her son would not listen to her. She explained to Gandhi that the boy would most certainly listen to him. Gandhi would not talk to the boy that day but asked the mother to bring him back in a few weeks. In that period of time, Gandhi stopped eating sugar himself. When the woman brought her son back, Gandhi said, “Son, you must stop eating sugar. It is not healthy for you.” The boy stopped eating sugar. When the woman asked Gandhi why he didn’t advise her son on their first meeting, Gandhi replied, “Madam, I was still eating sugar.”
So many times in our world, there are voices that say, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Gandhi knew that the only true and genuine teaching and change comes from those who live it. He had too much integrity to allow himself to request something of someone if he did not do it himself.
People pay attention to our actions and our choices much more than the words we speak. We can all “be the change” we want to see in the world if we live that change. If we see a lack of understanding, peace and unity in our world, the way to bring change is to live the love, peace and unity in our own lives, in our own thoughts. This is the hope for our world. This is one of the many powerful gifts that Gandhi’s life brought to millions.
What an amazing life. What an amazing teacher.
For pictures of celebrations on this anniversary: http://snipurl.com/sbj7g
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