Somewhere along the way, it’s likely that we were all encouraged to take pride in ourselves and/or in our work. And, somewhere along the way, we may have picked up that pointing to our own accomplishments would be self-centered or boasting, and those are generally not considered positive things. And so we learn to be proud of ourselves and our work less publicly, and more personally and quietly. But being self-centered is not the same as being proud of what we have done – and what we can dotomorrow.
Think about this in terms of being Shriners. Our fraternity has been a premier organization that has provided opportunities for life-long friendships and a chance to be part of something very special for more than 140 years. And we’ve offered hope and healing to children and families facing extremely difficult, complex medical situations for more than 90 years – always regardless of their ability to pay; we’ve funded ground-breaking research that has influenced and changed medical protocols worldwide; we’ve offered outstanding medical education to generations of physicians. We support a multi-million dollar health care system with locations in three countries that more than 1.2 million children and families have depended on over time, and thousands depend on annually.
How can we not be proud of what we’ve done for the world around us, and for our communities? How can we not be proud when our patients routinely overcome challenges and achieve more than they ever believed possible? How can we not be proud when we see our patients have the confidence and self-esteem to pursue their dreams?
I have always been proud to be a Shriner, but as I travel and see more and more of the work we do, my pride in Shriners Hospitals for Children and Shriners International continues to grow. Over time, and especially over the last several months as Imperial Potentate, as I’ve traveled extensively throughout our “world” of hospitals and temples, the pride that I have in being a Shriner and in being part of Shriners International and Shriners Hospitals for Children has increased considerably.
Everywhere I go, I meet dedicated nobles, committed staff members and determined patients. At the temples, the clubs, the hospitals and headquarters, everyone is actively participating in an amazing mission that changes lives and makes a real difference in this world.
I am proud to be part of our two amazing organizations, and I am proud of every single person who does their part to fulfill our missions every day. And you should be, too. What we need is to be proud – and take that pride, that sense of accomplishment, that knowledge that our efforts make a difference – and use it. We need to be proud to share that story of watching a patient tie their shoes independently for the first time, of seeing the first glimmer of hope in a patient’s eyes, of encouraging a brother, or even of just knowing you’re never alone – you’re part of a worldwide family.
Together, we have changed the world. And together, speaking as one unified force and voice – with the strength of hundreds of thousands – we can make Shriners International and Shriners Hospitals for Children organizations that everyone, everywhere knows.
Again, I am proud to be a Shriner – and I am proud of you.