Rhetoric Reflection: Selflessness

“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
Philippians 2:4 (ESV)

Carson and brother, Colton

Something happened to me recently that really touched me, and I thought I would just share it with you. My dad loves road trips and camping; almost every night he will come home and research where to go and what to see. So, two weeks before school started, my family and I were planned to go on a road trip. Our plan was to drive out west to California and see all the great national parks such as Yosemite and the Redwood Forest. My dad had been planning this trip for at least a year. He even stayed up to 1 o’clock in morning to reserve camping spots. However, in June, we learned that my brother would have his championship swim meet the weekend we wanted to leave. This would leave us with not enough time for our vacation. My brother had been training all year and this meant a lot to him. So, what did my dad do? He cancelled the trip he had been looking forward to for many, many, years so my brother could swim two races. He put his dream on hold for someone else’s dream to come true. This is what we call being selfless. When someone possesses selflessness, it means they put others before themselves and realize, “Hey, I have to do what is right, even though it may be unpleasant."

Carson and his dad, Rudi

Upper School recently finished reading the book Up from Slavery about Booker T. Washington, who was a freed slave that rose to success through hard work and determination. Mr. Washington exemplified selflessness better than most. Listen to this! By the time he was a well-known figure, he was offered five million dollars to go around the country giving speeches about his life, but he turned it down! Why would he turn down five million dollars? Because he wanted to continue to be the principal of his school. He knew that his talents were better used as the leader of a school where the main goal was to help educate African Americans. To quote Mr. Washington, “I always prefer to do things rather than talk about doing them.” So, Mr. Washington was selfless enough to work for a cause he knew was important, rather than going around the country merely talking about what people should do.

To tell you the truth, that hit me hard. Dr. Smith and I agree—we don’t think most of us would be able to do what Booker T. Washington did. It is a great reminder that we all need to put others before ourselves, especially with our school being rebuilt [after Hurricane Harvey] in the face of so many trials. The selfless actions of many volunteers is precisely why I’m able to stand on campus, in this room and deliver this speech to you today. Philippians 2:4 (ESV) perfectly sums up the attitude my dad, Booker T. Washington, and all the volunteers share. “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

So, Covenant, I leave you with this: think not of yourself, but of others. Think not of what is, but what could be. Think not of how great you, are but how greatly you can improve. Think not of how people have wronged you, but how you could fix those wrongs. Think not of glorifying yourself, but of glorifying God.

Carson in ChapelAs part of their training in Rhetoric, our students in grades ten and up are required to develop and present a brief presentation to the school body during Chapel with guidance from their instructors and school curriculum. Each student presentation must be understandable and relevant to all age groups. Sowing seeds of rhetoric training by requiring them speak to all age levels has yielded a harvest for all to enjoy.

This week’s presentation was given by Carson, one of our eleventh grade students (pictured).