Sometimes it is difficult to stay upbeat and above the fray in today’s culture of political anger and angst, but ordinary people are restoring my faith in humanity one good deed at a time. Their actions are a reminder that what’s right and good about this country starts with each one of us — every single day in how we choose to live our lives.
I was inspired by the recent actions of a professor at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga. You may have seen the story on the news about Nathan Alexander. He held a baby during a lecture so the baby’s father could take notes in class.
A photo of Nathan Alexander, the professor, was taken by one of his students and posted on Facebook: “As one of my peers walked into the classroom with his child in arms he quickly explained to my professor that he couldn’t find a babysitter and had nobody else that could watch her,” Nick Vaughn, a student, posted on Facebook.
According to Vaughn, Alexander said: “No problem, in fact I will even hold her so you can take better notes in class.”
“And he did, in fact not only did he teach the entire lecture with the child in his arms but also stayed after class helping those with questions about today’s lecture with the child still in his arms,” Vaughn said on Facebook.
Attention was further drawn to the professor’s actions when it was mentioned by Morehouse President David Thomas on Twitter: “This is about #love and #commitment. Loving our students and being committed to removing any barrier to their pursuit of excellence,” Thomas posted on Twitter.
Indeed. Alexander was a decent human being and supported a young father who was trying to juggle two roles at once. He recognized the guy’s commitment to his daughter and their future by furthering his education — and the professor not only assisted, but set an example of understanding and kindness.
Can you imagine if he had responded in a negative way? Sorry, no babies allowed. You’ll have to find a sitter before coming to class. A negative response could have altered the student’s attitude, outlook and commitment to education.
When you think about it, Alexander’s gesture was a small thing but HE had to make the decision to do it. Someone was paying attention and shared his good deed on social media. Then he was on the news … Just for being a nice guy.
Alexander wasn’t seeking attention for his actions, of course, but his gesture of kindness apparently had a profound impact on some engaged with him. I am glad Alexander’s good deed gained some traction and inspired a student enough to share it because it trickled down to me at a much-needed time.
Each day we are faced with small decisions that have the potential for great impacts. It all boils down to how we choose to respond. The professor’s actions remind me of a favorite quote by Winston Churchill: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
We know how Alexander is making his living — and his life. How are you making your life? Something to think about … .
Shea Wilson is the former managing editor of the El Dorado News-Times. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter.com @sheawilson7.