“When our deeds match our ideals ...”

“When our deeds match our ideals, we will be living life as it ought to be lived!”
Sargent Shriver |Lexington, VA| September 17, 2002

Our Quote of the Week suggests a simple yet profound aspiration for all of us: to act in a way that is consistent with our highest ideals. As billions around the world observe holy days in the coming days and weeks — Ramadan, Easter, and Passover — we’re meditating on how to live in a way that allow us to connect meaningfully to others, with intention and love.

Speaking at Washington and Lee University in 2002, Sargent Shriver gave a positive and heartwarming speech to graduates and invited guests. He started with the message: “I wish I were you,” pointing out that his young audience was well positioned to “make the 21st century what it should be, a new unified, compassionate, courageous and peaceful century!”

If we take stock now that we’re almost a quarter of the way through the century, we can see that there is still much work to be done to create an environment that empowers and that provides opportunity for all of us, including our most vulnerable neighbors. On a variety of issues from immigration to poverty to criminal justice reform, too often we hear arguments from our leaders and in our communities that are meant to generate mistrust in others. These arguments result, at times, in cruel policies that harm those who can least afford setbacks.

To combat the negative or self-centered impulses we may have, Sargent Shriver reminds us:

“It is not just about me! It is not just about you! It should be about us! All of us! How can we work together for the common good?”

In these words we hear a reminder that we are all connected, and that we can work together to improve society.

We invite you to read Sargent Shriver’s entire speech, or to watch the video of the address. His words about seizing the opportunity to make society better in the 21st century, combined with his lessons learned from the War on Poverty and the Peace Corps, combine to make this a truly memorable speech.

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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
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