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Learning humility and empathy

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I believe some people ally themselves with sure winners to give themselves a sense of, if not power, satisfaction.

Unfortunately not all of us do back winners, which makes a tough life for some. I always backed the wrong guy, for example.

In boxing I pulled for the fat, out-of-shape underdog, who rarely won. When the Montreal Canadians, the New York Yankees, Muhammad Ali, the New England Patriots, the Edmonton Eskimos, and Tiger Woods were at the top of their games I was always pulling for their opponents.

I believe I came to this attitude at an early age. As a kid I remember hounding my mother to buy a broom, which she didn’t need and couldn’t afford, from a blind man who came calling.
As time went on I learned probably from my dad and associates that you had to be tough. That stifled most of my empathetic nature.

In my late 30s I fortunately found that it’s much easier being yourself than what you  think people expect you to be.

Now, looking back over the past I can clearly see many sins of omission as well commission.

Occasionally one will pop up and hit me over the head, making me ask myself why I did that? Or why didn’t I do that?

My mother was a fervent Blue Bomber fan from when the team first started playing and she never saw them play a live game. After she passed on I realized how much it would have meant to her if I had taken the time to take her to a game. Sorry Mom...

My favorite uncle, Charlie, was very patient and spent a lot of time with us kids.

In my reading I found a poem about fishing which I know would have delighted him. He was ailing, and I knew I should make a copy for him before he left us but I didn’t. Sorry Charlie.
When I was 16 attending a picnic there was a race for those sixteen and over.

There were only three of us in the race — Arni, Carl, and myself, with prizes for first and second. Carl was, to be politically correct, mentally challenged. I knew I couldn’t beat Arni, as I was a very slow runner. But Carl had co-ordination problems and wouldn’t be hard to beat. Arni, as I expected, took off and left Carl and I well behind, running neck and neck for the second prize. I knew that I should let up and let Carl win, as it would have meant a great deal more to him that it would to me but I didn’t have the fortitude to do so. Second prize was a fountain pen. I should have let him win or given it to him but didn’t. Sorry Carl.

These three incidents from the past will always be there to gnaw away at me, and that I realize is a good thing. Conscience and humility are precious assets and hopefully will keep me from making too many mistakes in the future.

Ron Buffie is a community correspondent for Transcona.

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