Thursday, November 17, 2011

N'est-ce pas?

N'est-ce pas?
It simply means "Isn't that so?" in French. This coming week I get to act as a Matron during a camp for class eight graduates and some of the topics I would be honored to share with them includes, volunteering, self-expression, determination, culture, foreign languages, music and most of all greatness. See, most people, in fact all human beings have the inner drive to aspire to greatness. For most this is mistaken for fame and the result is a downfall so humiliating and unacceptable. What is greatness?
I could have asked simply, which one would you rather have fame or greatness?
Now, allow me to share some insights from random people I asked on campus.
"What's the difference?"
"Neither, I am famous and that makes me great-ha! just playing..."
"Fame is easy to achieve I would say greatness, like doing something that impacts humanity like Gandhi, Mother Theresa, yeah...I would aspire to be great. I am on that path already."
"Greatness definitely, but I would rather be great because of something positive not like Hitler or Pot who killed millions of innocent people."
"I will take any that comes my way."
"I don't care, as long as I have fun."
So, with all this in mind-which one would you aspire or are you aspiring to? Fame or greatness?
In my readings and encounters in the various Social networking sites, I have come to appreciate what Peace Corps do. For them, the only questions is "How far are you willing to go to make a difference?"
There's also the very simple question that they ask anyone who wants to join the Peace Corps, "List three lessons you wish the whole world would learn."
So, when one of the participants on campus threw back the question at me, my answer was "neither." She smiled and the laughed, and said she would have said the same had she known it was an option too. It was an option and it was there, it's just that she did not feel it would validate her opinion or take on it.
Aren't people mostly like that too?
Aren't people most likely to opt for what is the norm, rather than what is not? Call it a comfort zone or going with what you know, but how does this apply to fame and greatness? There are people who are famous for good and bad stuff, others are just famous for wearing too much make-up, others are simply famous because they are just that, and not so many people know why they are famous.
Then come to greatness. No great person be they known for good or bad deeds has ever achieved that ranking or esteem without facing numerous challenges, most of them personal. N'est-ce pas?

How can one change the world if one identifies oneself with everybody?