Sacrifice

[do action=”virtue” virtue=”Sacrifice”/] [do action=”vfdictstart” title=”sac·ri·fice”/] [do action=”vfdictitem” contents=”the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.”/] [do action=”vfdictend”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” author=”Christianity”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”It is not always physical bravery that counts. One must have the courage to face life as it is, to go through sorrows and always sacrifice oneself for the sake of others.” author=”African Traditional”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.” author=”Albert Pine”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Those who are morally well-adjusted look after those who are not; those who are talented look after those who are not. That is why people are glad to have good fathers and elder brothers. If those who are morally well-adjusted and talented abandon those who are not, then scarcely an inch will separate the good from the depraved.” author=”Mencius”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”There are plenty of teams in every sport that have great players and never win titles. Most of the time, those players aren’t willing to sacrifice for the greater good of the team. The funny thing is, in the end, their unwillingness to sacrifice only makes individual goals more difficult to achieve. One thing I believe to the fullest is that if you think and achieve as a team, the individual accolades will take care of themselves. Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” author=”Michael Jordan”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.” author=”John Wooden”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”You must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessing.” author=”Andrew Jackson”/]

Sacrifice

Imagine cavemen sitting in comfort before a fire in a communal cave being urged by their mates to go hunting for food on a cold, rainy, winter day. They are being called on to make a sacrifice. They are being asked to give up the comfort of their cave temporarily for greater rewards. Of course, there is initial resistance. But by accepting the task, they discover their rewards far outweigh the comfort they temporarily set aside. For they will come to experience the joy of victory over the foul weather, the exhilaration that follows a successful hunt, the praise of their mates and offspring, the sharpening of their survival skills, the camaraderie of working as a team, and the intense pleasure of returning to the cave.

Life has changed in many ways since the cave dwellers. Yet, in many ways it remains the same. After all, we are bound by an immutable law of the universe that states ALL ACHIEVEMENTS REQUIRE SACRIFICES. Those who refuse to make sacrifices refuse to grow. They refuse to succeed. They refuse to discover the joy of accomplishment. They refuse to establish meaning and purpose in their lives. And when they do so, they pay a heavy price. For the pain of future failure will be far greater than any discomfort a sacrifice would have required. Don’t join the ranks of those who have yet to learn that it’s not what we take up, but what we give up, that makes us successful.

We are social creatures. We depend on one another. We cannot achieve our goals without the help of others. Yet, others have their own agendas, goals, and interests. So, how can we work together without compromising? To succeed, we need to learn that we have to let go of one thing to gain another. We have to understand that sacrifice, or doing what we don’t want to get what we do want, is inexorably enmeshed in life. The extent to which we are willing to sacrifice controls the extent to which we will be successful. Or, as James Allen wrote, “He who would accomplish little must sacrifice little; he who would achieve much must sacrifice much; he who would attain highly must sacrifice greatly.”

Most of us realize this, but before we can make a sacrifice, we have to overcome the resistance to doing so. How can we make our task easier? How can we reduce the sting? The greatest favor we can do for ourselves is change our perspective. That is, change the way we look at things. The problem is the word SACRIFICE has a negative nuance. It implies making an effort, doing what we don’t want to, and undergoing pain. Why not put a positive spin on it. Why not focus on the beautiful things suggested by the word?

For example, Ralph Waldo Emerson had this to say, “Self-sacrifice is the real miracle out of which all the reported miracles grow.” So, instead of calling something a sacrifice, why don’t we call it a MIRACLE? Think about it for a moment. We are the only animals that can willingly do what we don’t want to do. That is a miraculous power. Sacrifice is the miracle that makes great things possible.

The word SACRIFICE is made up of SACRI and FICIO, which means TO MAKE HOLY. So, when we make sacrifices, we are sanctifying our actions, for whenever we raise ourselves to a higher level, we are bringing ourselves closer to our Creator. Rather than looking at sacrifice as something negative, look at it as a miracle, a holy act, a heroic act, a joyous, creative act, the means to our goal, an investment in the future, and a step to greatness. Look at it as a commitment and determination to succeed. When we look at it in these ways, it becomes much more palatable. When seen in this light, we realize that sacrifice is not about LOSS but about GAIN.

Another way of looking at sacrifice is as a source of happiness. And the greater the struggle that sacrifice entails, the greater the happiness that follows. Consider the words of the American Women’s Suffrage Leader, Olympia Brown who said, “He who never sacrificed a present to a future good or a personal to a general one can speak of happiness only as the blind do of colors.” Yes, those who refuse to let go of their present, transient comfort or pleasure are blind, and don’t know happiness. Their refusal to sacrifice defeats the very purpose of their being. For we are here to experience endless growth, joy, and freedom, all of which are realized by acts of sacrifice.

Another way to look at sacrifice is as service. Personal sacrifice for our own improvement is a holy act, but sacrificing for others, for their enrichment, as a parent does for a child, is the holiest of acts. Such sacrifices breed loyalty from those we serve and crown us with abundant blessings. To the enlightened soul, serving others isn’t seen as a sacrifice. Rather, it is viewed as joyful giving.

Those who reject sacrifices, remain enslaved by their own weaknesses. American Author Bruce Barton wrote, “What a curious phenomenon it is that you can get men to die for the liberty of the world who will not make the little sacrifice that is needed to free themselves from their own individual bondage.” It is bizarre, isn’t it, that some young men and women are willing to make the supreme sacrifice for their country, yet hesitate to sacrifice small things for their own welfare and happiness.

Everyone would like to achieve great things, but the ordinary person sees only the sacrifices that must be made and gives up the struggle. The rash person sees just the prize and jumps into the fray without enough preparation and loses the fight. But the wise see both the difficulties, which they carefully overcome, and the prize, which they win. Once you know what needs to be done, don’t delay, as many prizes have been lost not because of the inability to act, but the failure to act quickly enough.

Willingness to sacrifice is a sign of a strong character and is to be encouraged. A German saying makes this same point, “When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, everything is lost.” While we can rightfully be proud of our many accomplishments because of the sacrifices we have made, let’s not forget the sacrifices made for us by others. So, let our achievements be marked by a feeling of gratitude and not one of smugness.

Sometimes, despite the sacrifices we make, we do not reach our goal. If we are stuck in a quagmire, making no progress, it may be time to change direction. After all, persistently pursuing something that was not meant to be merely stands in the way of going after another, even more valuable, dream. Besides, sometimes the best win is to lose. How many times have your past ‘failures’ turned out to be blessings? It has happened in the past and will continue to happen. So be prepared for it and remain upbeat, changing course whenever necessary. And when you do ‘fail,’ use the accompanying feelings of disappointment and pain to empathize with others and offer them encouragement. By approaching life with open eyes and an open mind and heart, we can change ‘negative’ events into positive occurrences. Don’t think ‘sacrifice;’ think joy, growth, and freedom!

[do action=”vfquote” quote=”Only a life lived for others is worth living.” author=”Albert Einstein”/]

Sacrifices of our Founding Fathers

Fifty-six men signed the Declaration of Independence. Their conviction resulted in untold sufferings for themselves and their families. Of the 56 men, five were captured by the British and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons in the Revolutionary Army. Another had two sons captured. Nine of the fifty-six fought and died from wounds or hardships of the war. Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships sunk by the British navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts and died in poverty.

At the battle of Yorktown, the British General Cornwallis had taken over Thomas Nelson’s home for his headquarters. Nelson quietly ordered General George Washington to open fire on the Nelson home. The home was destroyed and Nelson died bankrupt. John Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside as she was dying. Their thirteen children fled for their lives. His fields and mill were destroyed. For over a year, he lived in forest and caves, returning home only to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later, he died from exhaustion.

[do action=”vfquote” quote=”To ease another’s heartache is to forget one’s own.” author=”Abraham Lincoln”/]

Self Sacrifice

Sacrificial love is self-sacrifice with the pure motivation to alleviate the suffering of others. This supreme love is suffering love, love that requires involvement in the knotty problems of the world, love that bears with the failings and weaknesses of others, love that is committed to helping others regardless of the cost. We have the example of Jesus Christ, who offered his life to redeem sinful humanity, and Moses, who risked his life before Pharaoh for the sake of his people. We have the example of the bodhisattva, who vows to devote himself to save all beings and to accept their sufferings as his own. He regards his own happiness as incidental to the happiness of others. He does not claim the merit of his spiritual progress for himself, but offers it for the liberation of others. A Hindu example of this sacrificial attitude and of the practice of “transfer of merit” is found in the story of King Vipascit, who would rather ease the suffering of the denizens of hell than enjoy by himself the bliss of heaven. We conclude with a description of the painful Native American ritual called the Sun Dance, in which the dancer has his chest pierced with wooden pegs tied with ropes to the top of a sacred tree; as he dances the ropes become taut until the pegs rip off from his flesh. The dancer sacrifices his body on behalf of his people, that the people may live.

Also known as Altruism is selfless concern for the welfare of others. It is a traditional virtue in many cultures, and a core aspect of various religious traditions, though the concept of ‘others’ toward whom concern should be directed can vary among religions. Altruism is the opposite of selfishness.

Altruism can be distinguished from feelings of loyalty and duty. Altruism focuses on a motivation to help others or a want to do good without reward, while duty focuses on a moral obligation towards a specific individual (for example, God, a king), a specific organization (for example, a government), or an abstract concept (for example, patriotism etc.). Some individuals may feel both altruism and duty, while others may not. Pure altruism is giving without regard to reward or the benefits of recognition and need.

The term altruism may also refer to an ethical doctrine that claims that individuals are morally obliged to benefit others. Used in this sense, it is the opposite of egoism.

Christianity

Altruism was central to the teachings of Jesus found in the Gospel especially in the Sermon on the Mount and the Sermon on the Plain. Love confirms others in their freedom, shuns propagandas and masks, assures others of its presence, and is ultimately confirmed not by mere declarations from others, but by each person’s experience and practice from within. As in practical arts, the presence and meaning of love becomes validated and grasped not by words and reflections alone, but in the making of the connection. Though it might seem obvious that altruism is central to the teachings of Jesus, one important and influential strand of Christianity would qualify this. St Thomas Aquinas states that we should love ourselves more than our neighbor. His interpretation of the Pauline phrase is that we should seek the common good more than the private good but this is because the common good is a more desirable good for the individual. ‘You should love your neighbor as yourself’ is interpreted by St Thomas as meaning that love for ourselves is the exemplar of love for others.

Buddhism

Altruism figures prominently in Buddhism. Love and compassion are components of all forms of Buddhism, and both are focused on all beings equally: the wish that all beings be happy (love) and the wish that all beings be free from suffering (compassion). “Many illnesses can be cured by the one medicine of love and compassion. These qualities are the ultimate source of human happiness, and the need for them lies at the very core of our being” (Dalai Lama). Buddhism is characterized by the belief that negative (unhappy) consequences of our actions derive not from punishment or correction based on moral judgment, but on the law of karma, which functions like a natural law of cause and effect. One simple illustration of such cause and effect would be the case of experiencing the effects of what I myself cause: if I cause suffering, I will as a natural consequence experience suffering; if I cause happiness, I will as a natural consequence experience happiness.

Islam and Sufism

In Sufism, the concept of i’thar (altruism) is the notion of ‘preferring others to oneself’. For Sufis, this means devotion to others through complete forgetfulness of one’s own concerns. The importance lies in sacrifice for the sake of the greater good; Islam considers those practicing i’thar as abiding by the highest degree of nobility. This is similar to the notion of chivalry, but unlike the European concept there is a focus on attention to everything in existence. A constant concern for Allah results in a careful attitude towards people, animals, and other things in this world.

Judaism

Judaism defines altruism as the desired goal of creation. The famous Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook stated that love is the most important attribute in humanity. This is defined as bestowal, or giving, which is the intention of altruism. This can be altruism towards humanity that leads to altruism towards the creator or God. Kabbalah defines God as the force of giving in existence.

Sikhism

Altruism is essential to the Sikh religion. In the late 17th century, Guru Gobind Singh Ji was in war with the Moghul rulers to protect the people of different faiths, when a fellow Sikh, Bhai Kanhaiya, attended the troops of the enemy. He gave water to both friends and foes who were wounded on the battlefield. Some of the enemy began to fight again and some Sikh warriors were annoyed by Bhai Kanhaiya as he was helping their enemy. Sikh soldiers brought Bhai Kanhaiya before Guru Gobind Singh Ji, and complained of his action that they considered counterproductive to their struggle on the battlefield. “What were you doing, and why?” asked the Guru. “I was giving water to the wounded because I saw your face in all of them,” replied Bhai Kanhaiya. The Guru responded, “Then you should also give them ointment to heal their wounds. It was under the tutelage of the Guru that Bhai Kanhaiya subsequently founded a volunteer corps for altruism. This volunteer corps still to date is engaged in doing good to others and trains new volunteering recruits for doing the same.
[do action=”vfquote” quote=”I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat.” author=”Sir Winston Churchill”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”I regret that I have but one life to give for my country.” author=”Nathan Hale”/]

Origin of the Iterod

Every year in Alaska, a 1000-mile dogsled race, run for prize money and prestige, commemorates an original “race” run to save lives. Back in January of 1926, six-year-old Richard Stanley showed symptoms of diphtheria, signaling the possibility of an outbreak in the small town of Nome. When the boy passed away a day later, Dr. Curtis Welch began immunizing children and adults with an experimental but effective anti-diphtheria serum. But it wasn’t long before Dr. Welch’s supply ran out, and the nearest serum was in Nenana, Alaska–1000 miles of frozen wilderness away. Amazingly, a group of trappers and prospectors volunteered to cover the distance with their dog teams! Operating in relays from trading post to trapping station and beyond, one sled started out from Nome while another, carrying the serum, started from Nenana. Oblivious to frostbite, fatigue, and exhaustion, the teamsters mushed relentlessly until, after 144 hours in minus 50-degree winds, the serum was delivered to Nome. As a result, only one other life was lost to the potential epidemic. Their sacrifice had given an entire town the gift of life.

[do action=”vfquote” quote=”If you love somebody, let them go, for if they return, they were always yours. And if they don’t, they never were.” author=”Kahlil Gibran”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”It is not what we take up, but what we give up, that makes us rich.” author=”Henry Ward Beecher”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Life’s most urgent question is: What are you doing for others?” author=”Martin Luther King, Jr.”/]

A Gift of Love

“Can I see my baby?” the happy new mother asked. When the bundle was nestled in her arms and she moved the fold of cloth to look upon his tiny face, she gasped. The doctor turned quickly and looked out the tall hospital window. The baby had been born without ears. Time proved that the baby’s hearing was perfect. It was only his appearance that was marred. When he rushed home from school one day and flung himself into his mother’s arms, she sighed, knowing that his life was to be a succession of heartbreaks.

He blurted out the tragedy. “A boy, a big boy…called me a freak.” He grew up, handsome for his misfortune. A favorite with his fellow students, he might have been class president, but for that. He developed a gift, a talent for literature and music. “But you might mingle with other young people,” his mother reproved him, but felt a kindness in her heart.

The boy’s father had a session with the family physician. Could nothing be done? “I believe I could graft on a pair of outer ears, if they could be procured” the doctor decided. Whereupon the search began for a person who would make such a sacrifice for a young man. Two years went by. Then, “You are going to the hospital, son. Mother and I have someone who will donate the ears you need. But it’s a secret” said the father.

The operation was a brilliant success, and a new person emerged. His talents blossomed into genius, and school and college became a series of triumphs. Later he married and entered the diplomatic service. “But I must know!” He urged his father. “Who gave so much for me? I could never do enough for him.”

“I do not believe you could,” said the father, “but the agreement was that you are not to know…not yet.” The years kept their profound secret, but the day did come . . . one of the darkest days that ever pass through a son. He stood with his father over his mother’s casket. Slowly, tenderly, the father stretched forth a hand and raised the thick, reddish-brown hair to reveal . . . that the mother had no outer ears.

“Mother said she was glad she never let her hair be cut,” he whispered gently, “and nobody ever thought mother less beautiful, did they”?

Real beauty lies not in the physical appearance, but in the heart. Real treasure lies not in what that can be seen, but what that cannot be seen. Real love lies not in what is done and known, but in what that is done but not known.

[do action=”vfquote” quote=”Many persons have the wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.” author=”Helen Keller”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Two kinds of gratitude: The sudden kind we feel for what we take; the larger kind we feel for what we give.” author=”Edwin Arlington Robinson”/]

Sun Dance of the Sioux Indians

When all the preparations were finished, the dancers stood at the foot of the sacred tree, at the west, and, gazing up at the top of the tree, they raised their right hands and blew upon the eagle-bone whistles. As they did this, Kablaya prayed, “O Grandfather, Wakan Tanka, bend down and look upon me as I raise my hand to You. You see here the faces of my people… You have beheld the sacred place and the sacred center which we have fixed, and where we shall suffer. I offer all my suffering to You on behalf of the people… Be merciful to me, O Great Spirit, that my people may live!” Then all the singers chanted together, “O Wakan Tanka, be merciful to me! I am doing this that my people may live!” The dancers all moved around to the east, looking towards the top of the sacred tree at the west, and, raising up their hands, they sang, “Our Grandfather, Wakan Tanka, has given to me a path which is sacred!” The dancers moved now to the south… to the west… to the north, and again to the west, all the time blowing upon their shrill eagle-bone whistles. Then the dancers all began to cry, and Kablaya was given a long thong and two wooden pegs, and with these he went to the center, and grasping the sacred tree he cried, “O Wakan Tanka, be merciful to me. I do this that my people may live!”… As the singers and drummers increased the speed of their chanting and drumming, the helpers rushed up and, grasping Kablaya roughly, threw him on the ground. The helper then pulled up the skin of Kablaya’s left breast, and through this loose skin a sharp stick was thrust; and in the same manner the right breast was pierced. The long rawhide rope had been tied at its middle around the sacred tree, towards its top, and then the two ends of the rope were tied to the pegs in Kablaya’s chest. The helpers stood Kablaya up roughly, and he blew upon his whistle, and, leaning back upon the thongs, he danced, and continued to dance in this manner until the thongs broke loose from his flesh. This dance is performed in times of famine, disease, or other danger to the community. The dancer afflicts himself in this prescribed way in order to procure spiritual help for his people.

[do action=”vfauthor” author=”Native American Religions”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”We must want for others, not ourselves alone.” author=”Eleanor Roosevelt”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Whoever renders service to many puts himself in line for greatness – great wealth, great return, great satisfaction, great reputation, and great joy.” author=”Jim Rohn”/]

Original American Sacrifice

Fifty-six men signed the Declaration of Independence. Their conviction resulted in untold sufferings for themselves and their families. Of the 56 men, five were captured by the British and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons in the Revolutionary Army. Another had two sons captured. Nine of the fifty-six fought and died from wounds or hardships of the war. Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships sunk by the British navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts and died in poverty.

At the battle of Yorktown, the British General Cornwallis had taken over Thomas Nelson’s home for his headquarters. Nelson quietly ordered General George Washington to open fire on the Nelson home. The home was destroyed and Nelson died bankrupt. John Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside as she was dying. Their thirteen children fled for their lives. His fields and mill were destroyed. For over a year, he lived in forest and caves, returning home only to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later, he died from exhaustion.

[do action=”vfquote” quote=”You make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give.” author=”Unknown Author”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Only when we give joyfully, without hesitation or thought of gain, can we truly know what love means.” author=”Leo Buscaglia”/]

The Brothers Karamazov

This Dostoevsky story is the story of Father Zossima, the wise, self-effacing, good-humored orthodox monk that many people come to for spiritual direction. One day, a woman comes to talk with him. She has a big problem, she says. She has lost her faith and therefore her reason to live. If Zossima cannot give her a reason to believe again, she says, she will kill herself. The monk tells her to go home, and every day, do something concrete to love the people around her. If she does this, he assures her, she will find, slowly but surely, that she won’t be able to help but believe. Love in action, he says, will change the way she sees the world. The old woman isn’t especially impressed. Basically she says, “That’s it? That’s all you have? I’m supposed to love the people around me? I already do that.” And to this Zossima responds with a line which has become famous: “Ah”, he says, “love in practice is a harsh and dreadful thing compared to love in dreams. It may very well kill you”

[do action=”vfquote” quote=”Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.” author=”Dalai Lama”/]

Order of the Iron Cross

During his reign, King Frederick William III of Prussia found himself in trouble. Wars had been costly, and in trying to build the nation, he was seriously short of finances. He couldn’t disappoint his people, and to capitulate to the enemy was unthinkable. After careful reflection, he decided to ask the women of Prussia to bring their jewelry of gold and silver to be melted down for their country. For each ornament received, he determined to exchange a decoration of bronze or iron as a symbol of his gratitude. Each decoration would be inscribed, “I gave gold for iron, 18l3.” The response was overwhelming. Even more important, these women prized their gifts from the king more highly than their former jewelry. The reason, of course, is clear. The decorations were proof that they had sacrificed for their king. Indeed, it became unfashionable to wear jewelry, and thus was established the Order of the Iron Cross.

[do action=”vfquote” quote=”Sweat plus sacrifice equals success.” author=”Charles O. Finley”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”The greatest use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.” author=”William James”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”The important thing is this: to be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.” author=”Charles Du Bos”/]

Self-Sacrifice Can Cripple Caregivers

The parent of a chronically ill child can spend up to 10 hours a day caring for the child. But what happens if the parent’s health begins to break down? A study by a UAB nursing researcher found that caregivers of young children with chronic illnesses tend to neglect their own health, setting the stage for disabling diseases that could ultimately undermine their caregiving capabilities. The study was conducted in Birmingham and Chiba, Japan, with funding from the Japanese Center for the Advancement of Science (Fogarty International Research Fellowship) and the American Nurses’ Foundation. The study was led by co-principal investigators Anne Turner-Henson, D.S.N., an associate professor in UAB’s School of Nursing, and Yuriko Kanematsu, R.N., M.S., dean of the School of Nursing at Iwate Prefectural University in Japan. The researchers conclude that pediatric nurses in both countries need to pay extra attention to the health of parents and look for ways to help them develop and practice better health habits.

Stress and Self-Neglect

Children in the study were between the ages of one and six and had a variety of chronic conditions, including asthma, cystic fibrosis, atopic dermatitis, cerebral palsy, and spina bifida. Caregivers provided daily treatment in their homes—giving medications, applying ointments, administering tube feedings, and other kinds of assistance. “The mean age of the mothers in our study was about 32, and they were generally healthy,” says Turner-Henson, “but they tended to practice poor health habits and to be under great stress because of having to care for such sick children. When you combine the stress of caring for a child who’s ill with poor health habits of your own, you’re going to have increased health risks.

“We found that mothers of chronically ill children tended not to get regular checkups and usually did not access regular preventive-care services,” Turner-Henson adds. “In addition, alcohol and tobacco use among these mothers was high. Parental smoking is extremely undesirable, of course, because many of these children have respiratory diseases—not to mention the health risk to the parents themselves.”

A particular concern, says Turner-Henson, is the fact that many chronically ill children require more and more care as they get older. “If the mother’s health breaks down, who will care for the child?” she asks. “The mother usually is the role model for health practices in a family. If she’s the caregiver and we can improve her health practices, that improvement will have a ripple effect on the whole family.”

Balancing the Burden

Turner-Henson says that the study offers considerable insights into differences between American and Japanese health habits. Compared to the American mothers, Japanese mothers tended to have better health practices, such as eating breakfast each day, consuming lots of fruits and vegetables, and limiting the use of tobacco and alcohol—although some of that is changing as Japan becomes more and more Westernized. American mothers in the study, on the other hand, tended to get more physical exercise than the Japanese mothers. The Americans also reported feeling less burdened than their Japanese counterparts. “Part of the sense of burden relates to differences in our health-care systems,” Turner-Henson says. “In the U.S., patients go home quickly from hospitals. In Japan, patients are hospitalized much longer and are not discharged until they are virtually healthy. “In the U.S., we can send sick patients home because we have a very well-organized home-health system. That’s not the case in Japan, particularly in terms of pediatrics, so there’s a greater burden on parents when sick children return home after hospitalization. Japanese nurses will need to work with parents to reduce that feeling of burden.”

Tips for Caregivers of Chronically Ill Children

  • Ask for help. Let others (friends, family members, neighbors, church members) know of specific needs so that they can help reduce your load.
  • Pay attention to the basics. Adequate sleep, nutrition, and exercise can help make stress manageable. Avoid smoking and drinking.
  • Stay connected. Recognize opportunities for friendships and support that are in the normal flow of your day (school, church, neighborhood, work).
  • Prioritize and organize your time. Decide what is reasonable to accomplish and set realistic expectations. Look for ways to free up time.
  • If you have a religious faith, build on it. Studies have shown that spiritual strength improves coping skills.
  • Make your own health a priority. When scheduling your child’s health appointments, schedule your own health checkup. Monitor your health.
  • Stay flexible and adaptable. Even the best plans will need to be rearranged on some days. Humor helps.
[do action=”vfquote” quote=”The smallest good deed is better than the grandest good intention.” author=”Duguet”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” author=”Nelson Henderson”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”The various features and aspects of human life, such as longevity, good health, success, happiness, and so forth, which we consider desirable, are all dependent on kindness and a good heart.” author=”Dalai Lama”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”There is no higher religion than human service. To work for the common good is the greatest creed.” author=”Woodrow Wilson”/]

The Beggar Gives His All

Before India gained independence, a few young men from the villages wanted to free India from the foreign yoke; they wanted the British to quit India. They needed material wealth to throw the British out of India, so they started collecting money in the Indian villages. One day, they got inspired to collect material things as well. They went from door to door carrying a huge bag, which gradually was filled with money and gifts. As they went, a one-legged beggar kept following them. The young men did not mind. At the end of the day, they entered into a house to see what they had collected. The beggar also wanted to enter, but since he was not a member of the group, they did not allow him in. The beggar pleaded with them: “I walked such a long distance right behind you. You want freedom; I also want freedom. Our Motherland is not only your property. It is also my property.” At first, the young men got mad and told the beggar to go away. Then one of the men felt sorry for him, so they decided to show him the things they had collected. While the beggar was looking at the gifts in their bag, most of them were showing him real contempt. Then suddenly the beggar opened up the bag that he had been carrying. It contained a few coins and some rice. He spontaneously threw all the contents into their bag. Immediately all the members of the revolutionary group started shedding tears of gratitude, because he had given all that he had to their cause. On that day, they had gone to visit so many rich families, who had given them next to nothing; but this beggar had given them everything that he had! They were deeply moved by the beggar’s contribution.

[do action=”vfquote” quote=”We are here to add to the sum of human goodness. To prove the thing exists. And however futile each individual act of courage or generosity, self-sacrifice or grace-it still proves the thing exists. Each act adds to the fund. It needs replenishment. Not only because evil flourishes, and is, most indefensibly, defended. But because goodness is no longer a respectable aim in life. The hound of hell, envy, has driven it from the house.” author=”Josephine Hart”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”If you have much, give of your wealth; if you have little, give of your heart.” author=”Arabian Proverb”/]

The Law of Sacrifice

Many people have read the books “The Secret,” “The Law of Attraction,” and “The Power of Intention.” Yes, they all can be considered blockbuster hits in the book world. They are stocked on the shelves in the “Self Help” and “New Age” section of every major books store. These books talk about positive thinking, about how the laws of the universe work as far as attraction. However, they seem to be missing one major element, the law of sacrifice. Within the last decade, people have been swept away by the Harry Potter movies. People want to believe that they can solve their problems simply by waving a magic wand. Swing a wand and repeat a few chants with powerful Incantations and “poof”, all your problems are solved. Oh, if it were only that easy!

There are other people who don’t believe the world works that way. It’s not just about thinking positive, it’s about making real sacrifices. That’s difficult to do, especially in the 21th century where almost everyone has a sense of entitlement. People think that they can just wave a magic wand and almost all their problems will be solved. Many people fail to realize that they must give up something that is truly valuable to them. They must make a trade, or an exchange of equal or more value. If a person wants to lose weight, they are going to have to give up the Hostess Ding Dongs. They are going to have to sacrifice their time and invest it by walking in the park, or going to the gym. If a person wants to have a successful business, they are going to have to sacrifice their time and money. If a person wants to be a successful athlete, they are going to have to sacrifice their time to condition and train.

The law of sacrifice is a foundational element of our very existence. We must sacrifice the things that we don’t like about ourselves, in order to replace them with things that we love about ourselves. We can use our will power to sacrifice behaviors that are bad for us ( vice), and replace them with ones that good for us (virtue). Building the life that we desire is not just about waving a magical wand. It’s about hard work, patience, time, and sacrifice.

And more often than not, it means letting go of things that we love the most.

The Bamboo Plant in the Garden

There was once a garden. The gardener’s favorite plant was the lovely and gracious Bamboo. Year by year, Bamboo grew lovelier and more gracious. She loved her gardener and she delighted in dancing for him when the breeze blew through her branches. The gardener in turn loved to watch her graceful dancing.

One day he came to visit Bamboo, but this day he looked thoughtful and sad. “My Bamboo,” he said, “today I must ask you to help me in an important work.” Bamboo was very excited. “Yes. I will do anything for you.” “My beloved Bamboo, for this work I need to cut you down.” Bamboo quivered with horror. How would she ever dance again? But she could tell that the gardener was serious. So he cut down Bamboo. Then he said, “Now I need to cut off your leaves and fronds.” Again, Bamboo shivered. She gave her consent, but felt naked and cold on the bare earth.

But there was worse to come. The gardener said, “Now Bamboo I must split you in tow and cut out your center, I must scoop out the heart of you. I cannot use you unless I do this.” So he split Bamboo, and hollowed her out, and gently lifted her to a place in the garden where a fresh, sparkling spring flowed. There he laid her down, placing one end in the water and the other end in the dry field beyond the garden. The water sang to Bamboo as it bubbled along her channel. It flooded the dry field and the gardener planted a new crop.

At harvest time, Bamboo, saw the abundance life in the new field that she had helped grow. She had once danced so gracefully, but now she danced a deeper, more powerful dance. She no longer missed her old life, for she saw the new life that she brought through her sacrifice.

Cancer-stricken mom chooses baby’s life over hers

By Linda Carroll

Stacie Crimm didn’t get to share much time with her infant daughter, Dottie Mae — she’d made the ultimate sacrifice to give the little girl life. Crimm, a 41-year-old single mother, received the grim diagnosis of terminal head and neck cancer just months after her little girl was conceived. She opted to skip chemotherapy to protect her growing fetus.

Crimm survived long enough for the baby to be delivered. But shortly after holding her daughter for the first time, the Oklahoma woman slipped into a coma and died. Crimm’s brother remembers the bittersweet moment when his sister held her child. “I felt like it was probably the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen in my life,” Ray Phillips told Matt Lauer on TODAY Thursday. “I don’t think I’ll ever see anything that beautiful again.”

Crimm never thought she’d have a child. Doctors had told her she wouldn’t be able to conceive. So it was a glorious shock when she discovered she was pregnant.

She immediately called her brother to share the happy news. “It took her by total surprise,” Phillips said, “She was petrified and happy and just … beside herself.”

But the jubilation was short-lived. Crimm began to experience terrifying symptoms: crippling headaches, tunnel vision and tremors that shook her entire body. She went to the doctor and got the devastating diagnosis: head and neck cancer. “She called me crying,” Phillips remembers. “She would say, ‘I’m not going to live long enough to have this baby.’ ”

Crimm had a chance at survival — if she chose to undergo chemotherapy. But that might have put her growing fetus in danger. She called her brother to let him know that she’d decided that the risk to her daughter was too great. “She said, ‘If I have to make a decision, you know what that’s going to be,’ ” Phillips said. “ ‘Don’t even ask. I’ve lived my life.’ ” Phillips told Lauer he didn’t even try to dissuade his sister: “Her mind was made up. It was pretty cut and dried.”

Crimm did her best to hang on so her little girl would have life. But the cancer was aggressive, and in August, Crimm collapsed in her home. She was rushed to the hospital, where doctors performed a C-section to deliver her little girl — 10 weeks premature and weighing just 2 pounds. The baby was sent to the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit, in a different building from where Crimm was being treated for cancer. NICU nurses couldn’t imagine that a mother who had given so much would never have a chance to see and hold her baby. They put little Dottie Mae in an incubator and wheeled her over to the unit where her mother lay dying.

“It was just one of those things you know you have to do,” one nurse later recalled.

They placed the little girl on her mother’s chest. Crimm watched her daughter for a few seconds and then she “lifted up her hands and just held her and just looked at her and smiled,” Phillips said.

Crimm died three days later.

[do action=”vfquote” quote=”I went into church and sat on the velvet pew. I watched as the sun came shining through the stained glass windows. The minister dressed in a velvet robe opened the golden gilded Bible, marked it with a silk bookmark and said, ”If any man will be my disciple, said Jesus, let him deny himself, take up his cross, sell what he has, give it to the poor, and follow me.”” author=”Soren Kierkagaard”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Ministry that costs nothing, accomplishes nothing.” author=”John Henry Jowett”/]

The Cost of Living a Virtuous Life

Living a more virtuous life often requires us to make sacrifices. At least for me it’s a lot easier to talk about being virtuous than to actually live that way. I think it’s the same for most people. The cost of virtue is sometimes humiliation, sorrow, and being uncomfortable. I think that when we talk about being virtuous we should always remember what the “cost” is. Many people first respond in obedience to the call of virtue. However after only a few short weeks many of us return to our old worldly ways of living. The question is, “Why do we return to our worldly lifestyles so quickly?” The answer is that many of us simply do not “count the cost” of living a virtuous life before we jump in.

  1. Would you tell all your relatives and neighbors that you are going to start building a new house without first figuring out whether you had enough money to do so or not?
  2. Would you guarantee a state championship with your team without understanding the commitment that takes in the weight room, the training field, practice, from players, etc.?

The same logic applies to understanding the “cost” of living a more virtuous life before we commit. Some of these costs are:

  • Self-denial of worldly passions and influences. This may require a complete re-focus from living for temporal gains versus spiritual (eternal) gains.
  • Forsaking unhealthy lifestyles such as gambling, drinking, smoking, taking illegal drugs, and all other worldly vices.
  • Having the discipline to place virtue over family and friends when you know they are wrong.
  • Standing up for the truth of virtue regardless of the consequences.
  • Making virtue a priority in everything you do.
  • Having empathy for others and the patience to seek their common humanity.
  • The sacrifice of time, talents, and monies for the cause of virtue.
  • Being faithful to virtue even though you know that decision is going to cause you grief. Not taking the easy way out.

As we encourage ourselves and others to live a more virtuous life, it’s imperative to emphasize the need to “count the cost” of virtuosity.

Some may decide that the cost is more than they are willing to pay.

The USS Pueblo

After the U.S.S. Pueblo was captured by the North Koreans, the eight-two surviving crew members were thrown into a brutal captivity. In one particular instance thirteen of the men were required to sit in a rigid manner around a table for hours. After several hours the door was violently flung open and a North Korean guard brutally beat the man in the first chair with the butt of his rifle. The next day, as each man sat at his assigned place, again the door was thrown open and the man in the first chair was brutally beaten. On the third day it happened again to the same man. Knowing the man could not survive another beating, another sailor took his place. When the door was flung open the guard automatically beat the new victim senseless. For weeks, each day a new man stepped forward to sit in that horrible chair, knowing full well what would happen. At last the guards gave up in exasperation. They knew that they were unable to beat that kind of sacrificial love.”

The Grasshopper and the Ant’s Sacrifice

The mother of a nine-year-old boy named Mark received a phone call in the middle of the afternoon. It was the teacher from her son’s school.

“Mrs. Smith, something unusual happened today in your son’s third grade class. Your son did something that surprised me so much that I thought you should know about immediately.” The mother began to grow worried.

The teacher continued, “Nothing like this has happened in all my years of teaching. This morning I was teaching a lesson on creative writing. And as I always do, I tell the story of the ant and the grasshopper: “The ant works hard all summer and stores up plenty of food. But the grasshopper plays all summer and does no work. “Then winter comes. The grasshopper begins to starve because he has no food. So he begins to beg, ’Please Mr. Ant, you have much food. Please let me eat, too.’” Then I said, “Boys and girls, your job is to write the ending to the story.”

“Your son, Mark, raised his hand. ’Teacher, may I draw a picture?’

“’Well, yes, Mark, if you like, you may draw a picture. But first you must write the ending to the story.’

“As in all the years past, most of the students said the ant shared his food through the winter, and both the ant and the grasshopper lived.

A few children wrote, ’No, Mr. Grasshopper. You should have worked in the summer. Now, I have just enough food for myself.’ So the ant lived and the grasshopper died.

“But your son ended the story in a way different from any other child, ever. He wrote, ’So the ant gave all of his food to the grasshopper; the grasshopper lived through the winter. But the ant died.’

“And the picture? At the bottom of the page, Mark had drawn three crosses on a hill.”

Sacrifice of Love

The family doctor told little John that he could save his sister’s life by giving her some blood. The little five-year-old girl was very near death, she was a victim of the same deadly disease from which John, her elder brother of age eight, had made a marvelous recovery two years earlier. The only chance for restoration to health was a blood transfusion from someone who had previously conquered the illness. Since the two children (John and the sick little sister) had the same rare blood type, the boy was the ideal donor.

“John, would you like to give your blood for your sister Mary?” the doctor asked him. The boy hesitated. His lower lip started to tremble out of fear. Then he finally smiled, and said, “Yes, Doctor. I’ll give my blood for my sister.” Soon the two children were wheeled into the operating room- Mary, now very pale and thin; John, robust and the picture of health. Neither of them said a word, they both remained silent, but when their eyes met, John grinned.

As his blood siphoned into Mary’s veins, one could obviously see new life come into her weak and tired body. The ordeal was almost over when John’s brave little voice broke the long silence, “Doctor, when will I die?” It was only then that the doctor realized what the moment of hesitation, the trembling of the boy’s lip, had meant earlier.

Being just a little boy, John actually thought that when giving his blood to his sister he was giving up his life! And in that brief moment, the final decision that he had made was the greatest love of all… The doctor and everyone in the operating room were deeply moved by the little boy’s brave final decision… the unconditional sacrificing love…

Sacrificing out of what you have is human nature, but sacrificing ALL of what you have needs a lot of LOVE. Nowadays people always think of what they can get in return before giving, if the return is less than what they gave, then they will be reluctant to give.

Always think of what you can do to help others and not just what you can get from them.