Do Good Anyway

By: Glenda Lofton, Ph.D.

Feb 2, 2021

As most of you know, I began my career as a second grade teacher in a small neighborhood school.  As a teacher, I always put a major emphasis on students' writing.  Not only did it help students develop reading and thinking skills, but the thoughts of children brightened my day and motivated my efforts.  One of my favorite memories is of four active little boys I taught in 1973-74. They knew how much I liked to read what they wrote and so, for two weeks, they met every day after school to write me stories.  Near the end of school, they presented me with a collection of mini-books they had written and illustrated – one of my most treasured gifts – even with the final line:  "I love you, you nice old lady, you!" For eleven years I taught second grade and felt the love of my students, parents, and coworkers.  So...when I got my Ph.D. and entered what I refer to as "the grownup world of work," I was in for quite a shock!  

The difference was probably intensified by the fact that I went to work in a statewide school improvement project where we went into schools having problems and said, "I'm from the state, and I'm here to help you." For the first time, I encountered people who questioned my knowledge and motives, people fearful of change, people whose trust I had to earn, and some who were not willing to put forth the time and effort required for improvement. And with the project's success, which gained international attention, came a new set of challenges which I was even less prepared for – people who believed so much in the project that their praise led others to resent and question our success.  When economic conditions in our state required budget cuts, the project was targeted by the legislature as one to be eliminated.  With no urging from us, parents and educators across the state who had seen their schools transformed by the project traveled in large groups to the capital to lobby on our behalf. In response, the legislators voted to continue the project's funding.  We were elated, but the next day the newspaper headline declared, "Politically Popular Program Refunded." Instead of discussing the merits of the program and the loyalty it had earned, the article implied "politics as usual." Many days I got discouraged, and on one of those days the deputy superintendent sent me a single red rose and the following poem entitled "Thoughts to Ponder."  

          People are unreasonable, illogical, self-centered. Love them anyway.
          If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish motives. Do good anyway.
          If you are successful, you will win false friends and real enemies. Try to be successful anyway.
          The good you do will be forgotten tomorrow. Do it anyway.
          Honesty and frankness will make you vulnerable.  Be honest and frank anyway.
          People favor the underdog, but they chum up to the top dog.  Fight for the underdog anyway.
          What you spend years building can be destroyed overnight.  Build anyway.
          Give the world the best you have and chances are you will get kicked in the teeth.  Give it anyway.  

Today, during the COVID pandemic and the recent election, I have a new appreciation for those in the workplace and in our government who work for the common good, who stand for something, and are willing to take risks for what they believe.  As I listen to the harsh words and personal attacks on people in leadership roles, hear of voter fraud in the recent election, and see the violence and destruction in our country, my heart is heavy.  Then I think of this poem, and another principle that helps me persevere, "If you don't want to be criticized, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing." In a democracy, all of us have the opportunity to do something.  And, above all, pray for our country and the principles on which it was founded – one nation under God with liberty and justice for all.


About Lofton: Founded in 1979, Lofton Services offers clients the best of all worlds. We provide the responsive, personal service and flexibility of a small local firm while having the technology, resources, and infrastructure to deliver the benefits of the biggest players in our industry. Lofton Staffing can deliver the right people, with the right skills, right when you need them. Contact us today


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