As the “Gilded Ball” dropped in Times Square, exciting mayhem erupted as thousands of people counted to the second the birth of a new year…2018—a time to reflect on how we would handle this precious gift of TIME, another 365 days to make the most of our human journey. As I sat in my den in Tulsa, Oklahoma watching and contemplating my RESOLUTION, I was taken back several years earlier to New York City where the piercing cry of a baby reminded me of the importance of a making a resolution to a CAUSE…to use my gift of TIME unselfishly and more wisely among my fellow life travelers.
I had come to the “Big Apple” to deliver a speech on innovation and entrepreneurship to entrepreneurs and innovators from our country and from around the world, based upon a book I had authored, Who Owns the Ice House?...Crossing 46th Street to the United Nations imposing building draped by flags of the world was an awesome walk—one filled with humble amazement when realizing that I would be speaking alongside television moguls and technology gurus. I was beyond anxious. I had to continuously pinch myself. How did I get here kept running through my head. While growing up on the Mississippi Delta during the era of legal segregation and Jim Crow Laws, this would never have been on my bucket list. But there I sat in this awesome space where the world gathers awaiting my turn to deliver a speech.
My turn finally came. There were two other speakers before me and they had spoken eloquently to the subject. However, while walking to the podium which for some reason seemed to have been
light years from my seat, I could clearly hear my beating heart. The expected quietness was overwhelming, that is until the piercing sound of a baby crying called us all to a rapt attention. It seemed as if the Assembly Hall was suspended in time for a brief Nano-moment. This “crying baby” was not in the well-rehearsed script. In that moment, it seemed as if the entire Assembly Hall was searching for the cry that had disrupted the well-planned order. Stunned, but not taken as a disruption. I could feel these words vibrating throughout this grand hall, “Can’t someone keep that baby quiet.” I just stood still, not moving, not talking…just thinking. It seemed as if I intuitively knew that this disruption would be the script for me. In that moment I realized the “cry” was for action—an unselfish and responsive act from someone in the Assembly Hall.
My speech took the backseat in my mind. The crying baby was now front and center. Something was wrong. We needed to stop. Someone needed help. I was feeling a responsibility to the baby’s cry—a cry asking someone to take notice, someone to provide food, someone to kiss gently on the cheek, someone to say, “Don’t cry. I’m here.” I didn’t leave the podium and no one left their seats, but someone used their TIME to ease the crying because the piercing cry stopped. The human cry still matters. I refused to think that the crying in the Assembly Hall had taken TIME from those of us gathered, but realized as I stood quietly surveying the audience that TIME had been shared where needed and rightly so.
THE BABY MATTERED… AS DO OUR FELLOW TRAVELERS
So while switching from channel to channel and finally back to New York and CNN for the final drop of the ball, I realized that I wanted to make my 2018 RESOLVE…TO A CAUSE—even if the CAUSE would interrupt my supposedly ordered world. I had learned decades earlier that nurturing relationships mattered. Practicing unselfishness was important for us growing up on the Mississippi Delta where our lives and future were being defined by the fields of cotton that surrounded us and by those in authority. As a beneficiary of the unselfish use of TIME shared with me by others, at one point along my journey, I had the audacity to think that I “owned” my TIME. TIME—the great teacher—has taught me otherwise. When thinking that I once owned TIME, I can only imagine the laughter in the heavens when such thoughts become ours. We don’t own TIME, but we are free to determine how we will use it.
WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH YOUR TIME ALLOTMENT
While watching 2017 slip away as I recalled my “moment” in the Assembly Hall of the United Nations, the sound of the baby’s cry once again reminded me of how easy it is to see and hear the needs of others as interruptions or unwanted distractions without giving thought to what could be required of us. That night while at the podium, I shifted my introduction solely from innovation to include the “cry” of the baby… and asked my audience to consider the legacy we would leave to those who still “cry” for our help along the road we travel together. Would you think of joining me with your RESOLVE to use your TIME more unselfishly and more wisely? TIME is a central part of life. It is precious, beyond our control, yet within our hands.
WITH “TIME” WE CAN DO GREAT THINGS OR OTHERWISE
TIME has allowed us to build nations. With TIME we have also destroyed what we have built. With TIME, families have grown and flourished, while some have never seen their dreams fulfilled. Using this precious gift of TIME, we have welcomed many of our fellow travelers, while disregarding others. With this gift, we have waged wars and we have found peace. Yes, TIME has matched lovers together and TIME has watched us say goodbye with only memories left of those who once traveled with us. So when a baby cries in the midst of a speech to be given, we have to decide how to use our TIME, to act unselfishly or ignore and assume that someone else will respond. Do you hear what I hear? Do you see what I see? Do you feel what I feel?
RESOLVED TO A CAUSE…MY 2018 RESOLUTION
By the TIME the “Gilded Crystal Ball” dropped ending 2017 with pandemonium erupting, my RESOLUTION was clearly understood. Embracing people and building good relationships among them would be my CAUSE. They were the CAUSE my Elders embraced and lived out when I was growing up…and I see no reason to not do likewise. People still matter! They matter within our homes—where our journey to become caring citizens starts, our schools—the place where we equip ourselves, and the next generation to become productive and engaging citizens and within the corridors of commerce—where we put to practice all that we have learned and imagined as essential to maintaining and maximizing our life. Nevertheless, piercing cries for “community—where unselfishness abounds” happen in all these places, our homes, our schools and where we work. But will we make a decision to respond and turn aside to help or simply turn and walk away? I feel that all our lives will be better lived if we intentionally embrace the opportunity to make life better for others—to hear their cry, to feel their pain, to celebrate their joy and to hold their hand as we journey together—a journey of life that still amazes.
SO JUST IMAGINE
… Our LIVES and those of our fellow travelers if our 2018 RESOLUTION to RESOLVE to a CAUSE became our shared reality. A time and place where our UNSELFISH HEARTS become the driver of our daily actions while traveling together on an incredible journey not of our making. [Taulbert after speaking in the Assembly Hall of the United Nations]