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Lessons from Haiti

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As the entire world grieves for those who are suffering in Haiti, I can't help but ask myself the question that so many are asking, "Why?" I have family who currently lives there and were fortunate enough to stay out of harms way, but there are millions who are homeless/injured, and hundreds of thousands who were not fortunate enough to live to see another day. We all know that the cruel, asinine, and unthinkable reasoning of Pat Robertson that Haiti has a "pact with the devil" is, in the words of the White House Administration, "stupid". We also know that God works in mysterious ways, and perhaps we will never know why this disaster and other disasters happen. However, despite the mysteries that surround tragic times such as these, there are many things that I have taken away from this incident that have caused me to look at my own life.

1. Life is Short

The two most important days of your life are the day you were born, and the day you know why you were born. You have a purpose here on this earth for the short time that you are here. Each of us has the same purpose, and that is to make the world a better place. However, each of us has been blessed with different abilities to achieve this purpose in different ways. We don't have long, so we should spend our time developing these abilities and putting them to work so that we can have the desired impact we were created for.

Are you supposed to be a school principal who will inspire 100s of children in an inner city community to pursue higher education where most don't even think about college? Why are you wasting time and not getting your Master's degree?

Are you supposed to be a policeman who will save the life of a child who ends up being a powerful minister and helps feed thousands in the community? Why are you at home now and not signing up for the academy?

Are you supposed to be a business owner whose new company employs thousands in your community, including a single mother who would have otherwise been homeless and unable to support her children? Why haven't you completed your business plan and put it into action yet?

Why are you playing so many video games instead of reading that inspirational book? Don't you know that your mind is not expanding which only makes it harder to pursue your passion?

Why are you and your spouse arguing so much when you should be showing love to one another? Don't you know that marriage is supposed to enhance your abilities, but when you allow the lack of love and stress to enter the relationship it severely dilutes its power?

Why are so concerned about what other people are wearing? Don't you know that if you spent your time empowering yourself and studying to pursue your passion that you could be a millionaire by now?

Why do you hold on to grudges and anger towards other people? Don't you know that you are wasting valuable energy on people who don't care or think about you?

Let's stop wasting time, show love, and get going on what we were sent here to do. Tomorrow is not promised to anyone, so we might as well make the most of today!

2. Encourage Kindness

I have heard many statements such as the following:

"Why are we spending so much time and money in Haiti when we have our own problems here in the US?"

For all of those who have ever said something like this, please send me your mailing address. I have photocopied a picture of my hand which I will send to you. When you receive the mail open it up and smack yourself with it!

Who are we to ever discourage kindness? These idiotic people, who have nothing else to do in their lives, only have one agenda. Their agenda is to try to make everyone's life as miserable as their own. These are the same people who had the audacity to tell Oprah what to do with her own money and to not open a school in South Africa. These are the same people who get mad at Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt for adopting children from other countries. Since when does kindness have boundaries? Any people who attempt to discourage kindness in this way are more than likely the same people who have done absolutely nothing for the empowerment of the community themselves. For all of those people who live in my community, I will gladly donate $100 to cover the cost of a UHAUL truck so they can move!

3. Financial Literacy is Crucial

When you ask someone why financial literacy is important, they might answer the following:

• I need to be financially independent.
• I want to have a fulfilled retirement.
• I want to start my own company and not be hindered by my finances.
• I want to be able to purchase my first home.

All of these reasons are sound. However, these reasons are all self-serving. The most important reason that you need to be fiscally responsible is because the better off you are with your finances, the more you will be able to help other people in their time of need. 10s of millions of dollars have been pouring in to support Haiti already. Can you imagine how much support would have been provided if we weren't in a slow economy?

Madame CJ Walker said it best when she said, "I am not satisfied in making money for myself. I endeavor to provide employment for hundreds of the women of my race."

Business ownership, savings, investments, planning for your estate, and much more are all a part of making sure that your financial house is in order. It is hard to give money to Haiti if you are worried about your home going into foreclosure or you don't have the money to pay your bills.

Those in Haiti are still suffering, and will be for quite a while. In the days of the 24-hour news cycle, I pray that this story does not get swept under the rug when the next "exciting" story starts next week. I pray that we can all come together and send our support to those in this struggling nation. For Haiti to recover, kindness must not come from only one nation, but should come from the entire world. Haiti, my thoughts, prayers, and donations are with you.