Love Them All

Father Greg Boyle, author of Tattoos On The Heart, is the founder of Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles.  He has worked with gang kids for thirty years.  Many of the teens don’t have a family or a safe place to live, so they join a gang.  This story from Greg says it all:

I always bring a couple of homeys with me to talk, and they get up and they tell their story.  We were taking a long flight and I took a couple of homeys from different gangs.  I like to mix them up.  One of them worked at the bakery and the other worked in the store where they sell Homeboy stuff.  They had never flown.  They were terrified.  We’re looking out the window and two of the flight attendants were going up the steps with cups of Starbucks coffee and I said “Well, pretty soon it must be time to take off because they’re trying to sober up the pilot.”  I know that wasn’t fair to say to these guys but anyway they get on the plane. You gotta mess with them sometime.

We get there.  It’s a thousand people (psychologists and social workers) in this major city.  “I want you to tell your stories first, and then I’ll talk about how I work.”  And so they get there, Mario and Bobby.  They were both nervous.  Their accounts moved people very deeply because their stories were filled with violence, abandonment, abuse, torture, homelessness of every kind.  Honest to God, if their stories had been flames, you’d have to keep your distance.  Otherwise you’d get scorched.

They spoke before me, and before I presented (because I wanted to include them ) I asked if anyone there had any questions for these guys.  A woman raised her hand.  She had a question for Mario, and he started to quake, like how do I do this?  “You’re a father … you’ve been at Homeboys for nine years.  Your son and daughter are starting to reach their teenage years.  What wisdom do you impart to them?  What advice do you give them?”

Mario was silent, and trembled and closed his eyes, and blurted out “I just …”  And he couldn’t say anything more for a long time.  Finally he looked at her as if pleading and said “I just don’t want my kids to turn out to be like me.”  His words felt squeezed out, and his sobbing was now more pronounced.

The woman was silent.  No one said anything.  She stood up again.  Now it was her turn to cry.  She pointed to him, and her voice, quite certain through her tears, said “Mario, why wouldn’t you want your kids to turn out to be like you?  You are gentle.  You are kind.  [He was known as being a gentleman at Homeboys]  You are loving.  You are wise.”  She planted herself firmly: “I hope your kids turn out like you.”  And there wasn’t much of a pause before all one thousand attendees stood up and began to clap.  The ovation seemed to have no end.  All Mario could do was hold his face in his hands, overwhelmed with emotion.

It’ll Be Amazing

There’s TSN, and then there’s me.

TSN is a Canadian sports network. They telecast the Super Bowl yesterday but I didn’t watch. I don’t care about American football. But over the years I’ve enjoyed many of the commercials.

TSN had a recap today about all things Super Bowl, including the five best commercials from the game. I leaned forward on the couch, ready to be amazed. Sadly, I was not. I was not touched by any of them. Most were funny and light, but they didn’t make me pause and stare. The 30-second spots were no doubt effective in selling the product but I don’t care about that. I yearn for the possibility that those seconds could impact my life.

Here is TSN’s view of the best:

1. Singer Michael Bublé knocks on several doors, delivering cans of Bubly drink to the homeowners. They just don’t understand that the name is “Bublé”.

2. Man to woman: “Did you steal my Cheetos again?” Woman to man: “It wasn’t me!” The woman proceeds to throw the package out the window while being accused. Later she points to the cat as being the guilty party.

3. “I’m Drake from State Farm.” The famous one wears a red shirt identical to the one worn by the male actor beside him. Eventually, the actor puts his hand on Drake’s shoulder and says “Stand-ins don’t have lines.”

4. Seems like they’re selling car batteries in this one. A fellow (probably a celebrity) drives his car onto a ship and straight into a large storage container. He and his car reappear on a dock in a cutesy seaside village. On the phone, he lets his friends know “I’m in Norway!” A woman strolling by corrects him, however. “Norway? You’re in Sweden.”

5. Mike Myers and Dana Carvey from the film “Wayne’s World” are on a couch with a beautiful woman. They start singing “eat local”. Everybody changes costumes and jumps around. An Uber Eats box shows up at the end.

Maybe I’m missing something here. The recipe seems to be putting famous people in a silly situation and therefore making millions. (Sigh)


And then there’s this …

A woman is on her back, treading water. Then there’s another woman, answering the phone:

Mrs. Long? We’ve found a baby girl for your adoption but there’s some things you need to know. She’s in Siberia, and she was born with a rare condition. Her legs will need to be amputated. I know this is difficult to hear. Her life – it won’t be easy … Mrs. Long?

It might not be easy but it’ll be amazing. I can’t wait to meet her.

This one makes me smile


Jessica Long, 13-time Paralympic Gold Medalist swimmer


After You Die

Imagine the day of your death. May it be a long way into the future. Imagine the sadness of your loved ones. You touched them. You’re probably not famous so the mourners won’t number in the millions, or even the thousands. But every single one will feel a long exhale in memory of you. They’ll take to Facebook or Twitter. They’ll speak to your family at the funeral. And here’s what they’ll say about your uniqueness:

There was no one else like you

You understood human triumph and frailty equally well

You shall be missed

Thanks for all the laughs

You had an insatiable curiosity about people, and a real sense of humor

Your legacy will live on

It was an honor to watch you do your thing

You really, really did listen

It was your generosity of spirit that drew the world to you

You made everybody feel comfortable

I’ve never known anybody who made a bigger deal out of the slightest kindness

You were always interesting, gracious and fun

You had a great sense of humor and a genuine interest in people

I’m going to miss all of our great conversations

You were a friend through thick and thin

It was always a treat to sit at your table

You loved what you did and all of us loved you

Thank you for listening

You always made me feel as though I were the only person in the room


Well done
You’re living a good life

We Can Change the World

Pie in the sky?
The musing of a fool?
Irrational and irrelevant?

Perhaps not


Everyone must leave something behind when he dies . . . Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die . . . It doesn’t matter what you do, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away.


It’s the outsiders who change the world.


A socially accepted or cultured person can never change society. By change it means something that society has never imagined before.


One smile has the power to …

Calm fears
Soften stone walls
Warm a cold heart
Invite a new friend
Mimic a loving hug
Beautify the bearer
Lighten heavy loads
Promote good deeds
Brighten a gloomy day
Comfort a grieving spirit
Offer hope to the forlorn
Send a message of caring
Lift the downtrodden soul
Patch up invisible wounds
Weaken the hold of misery
Act as medicine for suffering
Attract the companionship of angels
Fulfill the human need for recognition

Who knew changing the world would prove so simple?


Love people who hate you. Pray for people who have wronged you. It won’t just change their life … it’ll change yours.


The world is changed not by the self-regarding, but by men and women prepared to make fools of themselves.


I’m just tired of feeling like the way things are is the only way they can ever be.


Burn so bright that the world comes to life.


No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.


I’m not a Starbucks guy. I’m a Dunkin Donuts guy, but I like to pay for the coffee of the other folks behind me in line. It typically costs me less than $10, and makes the other people feel good, but more importantly, it makes me feel so good, and random acts of kindness change the world, one person at a time.


When you are told “You cannot change the world”, it is because you are already doing it.


Help young people. Help small guys. Because small guys will be big. Young people will have the seeds you bury in their minds, and when they grow up, they will change the world.


I believe it’s time that women truly owned their superpowers and used their beauty and strength to change the world around them.


We have to raise the consciousness. The only way poets can change the world is to raise the consciousness of the general populace.


Kids really have a lot more power than they think they have. They have the power to change the world. And they should know it.


You have a mind. And you have other people. Start with those, and change the world.


It’s hard to tell the truth
When no one wants to listen
When no one really cares
What’s going on
And it’s hard to stand alone
When you need someone beside you
Your spirit and your faith must be strong

What one man can do is dream
What one man can do is love
What one man can do is change the world
And make it young again
Here you see what one man can do


Age, gender, sexual orientation, appearance, personality, money
Do not matter
Do something you love