To the editor:
I can’t ever recall a reader writing a letter to the editor about an advertisement, so this may be a first, but I couldn’t let the opportunity pass without commenting on the Skiff Medical Center ad in the May 6 edition of the Newton Daily News.
I was truly moved by Patty Schut’s poignant testimonial in the “I Choose Skiff” series — moved almost to tears for more than one reason.
First, I want to say that I have never met Ms. Schut so it’s not as though I “owe” her anything. Her story is based on a lifetime of overcoming adversity and demonstrating the reason why we’re on this earth: to develop the potential and character we were all given at birth with the directive that somehow we can make a difference.
Using grace, stamina and plain old intestinal fortitude, it is evident in those few short sentences that she went on to build a career of which she should certainly be proud, one that I’m sure makes her family and the management of Skiff very proud indeed. She is one of those “unsung heroes” who deserve all the respect and admiration we can muster.
Yet I wanted to cry — not out of pity for Patty, for she does not warrant our pity, quite the contrary — but for all those in society who make it their aim to hurt, belittle and diminish others whom they feel don’t measure up or who are different. People don’t even know they descriminate at times, it’s so commonplace.
It can come in the shape of a whisper, a laugh, a turned back, the invisible treatment, not to mention the name calling and the violence. We read and speak a great deal in this generation about the prevalence of bullying in our schools. Action is finally being taken. Why did it have to take so long for the topic to be recognized for what it is?
Yes, we’ve seen bullying in Newton. Perhaps more of us are guilty than we realize. Do we recognize who we are? Have we learned anything? Wounds heal, but scars remain. People are changed by words and actions. Once used maliciously, they can never be taken back.
Collectively, Americans talk a lot about peace. Peace is a lovely concept, and all nations of the earth adhere to it, but they set conditions for making a stab at making it work. There isn’t much tolerance for understanding.
Tolerance and appreciation for our fellow human beings are concepts that begin in the home, how parents show their children by example, not necessarily with the words they speak.
Increasingly, there seems to be a mindset that everything that happens should ideally be “all about me.” This is truly frightening. We must learn to discipline ourselves and take responsibility for our actions.
Has anyone else noticed that manners have taken a nosedive in recent years? Our churches and synagogues are thankfully still teaching that we have an obligation to give something back to future generations.
Think about it, none of it has to cost a dime. Paying back can be as simple as treating your brother and sister the way you would like to be treated. That alone speaks volumes.
I hope there will be a response in the minds of all who see this letter. Sometimes, we don’t even know what treasures there are among us.
Patty Schut and her mother are fine examples that they are here if we look for them. They don’t come with trumpet fanfares, but with gifts and quiet messages from God about the love that surrounds us in our life’s journey.
What they give is greater than silver and gold, prestige or power. In the final analysis, we are richer because they are here.