Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The hard part is to stay with it

Sometimes you come across a passage in a book that is worth returning to again and again. A couple years ago my daughter gave me Granny D: Walking Across America in My 90th Year.

People who are drawn leading nonprofits intend to do good. In her 90th year Granny D, Doris Haddock, walked across America to bring attention to the need for campaign finance reform. The she wrote her memoir. Recently it's been published in paperback. Here's the passage:

...when you take on some leadership responsibilities in the world, you must accept the fact that you will change lives. Your intention is to do good for everyone. But you will change lives in ways that you cannot fully control, and sometimes things will go terribly wrong. The hard part is to stay with it and not give up trying to do good in the world. But my, it is hard when tragedy and defeat come visiting, as they do. If love is your motivation, and if your respect the people you serve as your moral equals, you will do more good than harm over a lifetime--by far. But you will do some harm, and it may haunt you when you take a walk in your old age.

That's the humble heirarchy path.