Friday, October 22, 2010

University of Adversity

The Rev. Josiah Henson (1789-1883) was born as a slave. His parents and siblings were victims of the cruelty of slavery. He led a life of suffering, experiencing and witnessing the horrible life of slaves. Later he escaped to Canada and led a historic mission against slavery and apartheid. He was denied formal education, but by his own efforts became a renowned scholar and a distinguished communicator. Impressed by his vast knowledge and attractive personality, the Archbishop of Canterbury once enquired about the University where he was trained. He replied, “I studied in the University of Adversity.”
William Arthur Ward (1921-1994) said, “Great men rise above adversity and attain new heights of achievement by turning tribulations into triumphs, failures into fortunes, setbacks into successes, obstacles into opportunities, and burdens into blessings. They refuse to be hampered by handicaps, dismayed by discouragements, overcome by opponents, defeated by disappointments, or destroyed by disasters.” In his opinion, “Adversity causes some to break, others to break records.”
History reveals the success of great personalities like Abraham Lincoln and Benjamin Franklin who were exposed to poverty and hardship during childhood. They could overcome their hardships by hard work and determination. But they are exceptions.
People are like tea bags. Their real strength is revealed only when dipped in hot water.The only difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is the way we use them.
Adversities impede the development of millions of children. Many are exposed to the disgusting bitterness of poverty and starvation. It is our prime duty to pool all resources for the uplift of the poor, suffering and downtrodden children of our community.

© By Dr. Babu Philip, Professor, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Fine Arts Avenue, Kochi-682016, Kerala, India.
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