Change the World by Reaching Within

If like a scientist you will take the raw materials of your mind and your body and process them through the laboratory of humility, prayer and neighborly love, the result will be a second explosion heard ‘round the world. You will be raised into a life of overwhelming love, great peace, and heroic achievement. And these things no man will ever be able to take from you
Sargent Shriver | Chicago, IL | March 14, 1957

Our Quote of the Week emphasizes the role of love and self reflection in our ability to make a positive impact on the world. It is a timely message that matches the spirit of the holiday season -- and addresses our need to face the many challenges that we are facing as a world community.

In a rousing speech about citizenship to young leaders, Sargent Shriver spoke about the potential of Chicago, his home at the time. The year was 1957, and when he asked, “What are we in Chicago famous for? What do we export to the world?”, he suggested that perhaps the city was known for exporting only “material things,” listing the manufactured products for which the city was famous at the time. He then stressed that as citizens, we needed to cultivate deeper, more spiritual gifts to give to each other and to the rest of the world, and it is in this context that he spoke of citizenship, faith, service, and indeed, love. He said:

“Let us make no mistake. You and I will solve the problems of ignorance, poverty, racial discrimination, slums and filth here in Chicago in our lifetimes, or tougher, harder working zealots of an alien culture will trample our freedom, and your opportunities to death.”

“Let us not be content with things as they are.”

“We can change Chicago. That’s easy. The hard part is to change ourselves -- to change ourselves from men and women looking for the easy job with ‘the most in it for me’ as the popular expression puts it.”

In this context, Shriver urged the young audience to look within.

The holidays can be a time when our focus is pulled towards the material: the sales, the gifts, the planning. Let us resist the draw towards material things and commit to actively embracing the values that are going to create a more peaceful and prosperous society for all of us: citizenship, faith, service, and indeed, love.

Like this quote? Read the speech and subscribe to receive our Quote of the Week by email.

Peace requires the simple but powerful recognition that what we have in common as human beings is more important and crucial than what divides us.
Sargent Shriver
Get the Quote of the Week in Your Inbox