The problem isn’t coming up with ideas, it is how to contain the invasion. My ideas are like uninvited guests. They don’t knock on the door; they climb in through the windows like burglars who show up in the middle of the night and make a racket in the kitchen as they raid the fridge. I don’t sit and ponder which one I should deal with first. The one to be wrestled to the floor before all others is the one coming at me with the most vehemence.
Via Electric Lit.
Not sure if this is more encouraging or daunting, but it’s definitely interesting!
"If you could give one piece of advice to a large group of people, what would it be?"
"If you feed your children with food earned from corruption, they will be corrupt. If you feed your children with food earned from honesty, they will be honest."
I visited the Confident Children out of Conflict (CCC) Center in Juba, a place where displaced children in South Sudan are given shelter, an education, affection, and a second chance. I was greeted by Cathy, the center’s director. She was very kind, but also a bit nervous about my presence. She’d been briefed about my interview process. “We can talk about happy moments,” she said. “But let’s not ask these children about their saddest moments, or times they felt afraid. Many of them were malnourished, abandoned, or regularly sexually abused. Some of them have witnessed extreme violence. When journalists ask them to relive these memories, it can set them back for an entire month. They begin to act out. Often their trauma is so bad, that when the children first arrive, they can be very hateful toward me. But I feel blessed by the hate. Because I know it’s part of the healing process. And if they need someone to hate so that they can heal, I’m glad it can be me.”
A few minutes after this conversation, a young girl walked up to Cathy, gave her a hug, and ran away. Cathy seemed quite moved. “That girl was very badly abused,” she said. “She’s been here for months. And that’s the first time she’s ever hugged me.”
(Juba, South Sudan)
“It’s not even about making money for me, it’s about gaining respect. Seems that for kids around here, all the respect goes to the drug dealers, because they’re the ones with money. But you know what saved me? Family. Instead of hanging out with friends after school, I’d take the bus from the Bronx to work with my dad in the recycling yard. He’d drive me around in his truck while he was doing pick-ups, and he’d tell me stories. And every one of his stories started the same way. He’d say: ‘I wish that when I was your age, I knew the things that I know now.’ And he’d also ask me questions. He’d say: ‘When you get a car, are you going to lease it or buy it?’ He’d say: ‘What stocks do you think we should buy with the money we make today?’ He’d say: ‘Where do you think is the best place to buy a piece of property?’”
“I think my grandfather may have the correct approach to art. He’s had a long career, and in his retirement he’s been working on building a boat. I doubt he’ll ever finish it, but I don’t think that’s particularly important to him. He wakes up every morning, drinks his cup of coffee, then goes out to his workshop to sand a tiny portion of wood. He doesn’t need to finish that boat to pay the rent. He can afford to have some distance from it, so he gets to enjoy it. He looks at that boat tenderly, like he looks at his grandkids. He gets to have a dream without the necessity of achieving it.”
Long-term, if you’re really trying to get the most out of people, you got to build people up not tear them down. And I think that’s something that I learned about not just myself but other people. That you’re really trying to get inside someone’s heart and soul and bind them to what it is you together are trying to accomplish.